Academy tells Milosevic to go

October 15, 1999

Forty-five members of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences have called for a change of regime in Serbia and Yugoslavia.

The academics issued an open letter warning that if Mr Milosevic remained in power, it would "call into question the very survival of the population".

The letter was broadcast on Belgrade's independent radio B2-92. The academicians said that their "social status" as scholars obliged them to voice their opposition to the regime - joining in spirit those who have daily taken to the streets demanding a change of regime as a way for the Serbian population and state to "pull themselves out of the abyss" and "embark on the road to recovery and return to the modern world".

Anti-Milosevic demonstrations, organised by the opposition coalition Alliance for Change, continued to spread despite a mysterious traffic accident that killed four prominent members of the opposition Serbian Renewal Movement and gravely injured a fifth.

The protests were strongly supported by the Serbian student movement Odpor (Resistance), which emerged from the pro-

democracy protests in 1996-97.

One student activist was at one point trapped overnight by a police siege of the alliance's Belgrade headquarters. The following morning protesters freed him.

Up to 30,000 people are taking part in nightly protests in Belgrade and 15 other cities.

That students should once more be involved in the demonstrations is not surprising. Last week Zoran Djindic, leader of the Democratic Party, quoted statistics that revealed that two out of three young people in Serbia feel they have no future in their own country.

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