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Yugoslavia: Opposition Leader Claims Belgrade Rally Successful

Belgrade, 20 August 1999 (RFE/RL) - Serbian opposition leader Zoran Djindjic says an anti-regime rally in Belgrade last night that gathered more than 150,000 demonstrators was a "fantastic" success. Djindjic, whose Democratic Party dominates the opposition Alliance For Change, told RFE/RL after the event that "even the blind can see" the Serbian people want Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to resign. Djindjic said the opposition is giving Milosevic 15 days to resign before a "stronger phase" of daily protests is launched across Serbia. He also welcomed a spontaneous speech at the rally by rival opposition leader Vuk Draskovic of the Serbian Renewal Movement. Draskovic, who said earlier he would not appear, addressed the gathering after many in the crowd chanted his name. Draskovic insisted on early elections by the end of this year. He also denounced the idea of an interim government to run Serbia until a ballot is held. Those remarks conflict with the position of the Alliance For Change, which insists on an interim government before elections. The Alliance For Change also has demanded monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to ensure that any ballot is free and fair. Vuk Obradovic, the leader of the opposition Social Democrats, told RFE/RL after the rally that relations between opposition forces are now much clearer. He said the demonstration showed that greater efforts are needed to unite the opposition. Obradovic did not speak at the rally.