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Yugoslavia: Government Vows Crackdown On Protesters

Belgrade, 3 October 2000 (RFE/RL) - The Serbian government vowed today to prevent and punish any "subversive" activity, heralding a widespread crackdown on the civil disobedience campaign organized by the opposition to force Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to step down. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated throughout Serbia as part of the nationwide protests which began yesterday. Reports say several thousand students have been stopped by riot police as they tried to march towards Milosevic's official residence. Coalminers in Kolubara, defying army threats, today vowed to continue with a crippling five-day strike that has led to power cuts. Power cuts are being registered today in the cities of Cacak, Nis, Novi Sad, and Kragujevac. The head of the army, General Nebojsa Pavkovic, said overnight that the authorities were ready to use emergency measures to force the miners back to work.

Serbian opposition leader Vojislav Kostunica, who has claimed victory in the September 24 election, said today that Yugoslav elections are "finished" and that he will not take part in the run-off scheduled for this Sunday.