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Yugoslavia: Opposition Launches General Strike

Belgrade, 2 October 2000 (RFE/RL) - The Serbian opposition today launched what it says will be a nationwide campaign of civil disobedience aimed at forcing Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to accept electoral defeat and leave office. Demonstrators braved pouring rain to block one of the main bridges across the Danube River in Belgrade this morning. Independent radio station B2-92 said other blockades clogged traffic in several suburbs of the capital and in the opposition-run town of Cacak. Elsewhere, reports last night said a large contingent of police had entered the Kolubara mine, Serbia's largest, where workers have gone on strike in support of the opposition.

Milosevic's regime over the weekend rejected offers from the Russian government to mediate in the crisis. The opposition and Western countries contend that opposition candidate Vojislav Kostunica won a first round victory in the September 24 presidential election and that Milosevic should step down. But federal electoral authorities have called a run-off vote between the two men next Sunday.