Report 10,000 Serbs rally for greater central control
Jul. 23, 1988
PANCEVO, Yugoslavia (AP) _ As many as 10,000 Serbs rallied Saturday to demand constitutional changes that would give Serbia, Yugoslavia's largest republic, more control, Belgrade radio and witnesses said.
The rally in Pancevo backed Serbia's communist leader, Slobodan Milosevic, who wants the republic to be given greater authority over two of its provinces, Vojvodina and Kosovo.
Those two provinces were granted wide autonomy by the Yugoslav Constitution adopted under the late President Josip Broz Tito.
The demonstrators, most Vojvodina Serbs, had expected to be joined by Serbs from Kosovo for the rally in Pancevo, a Vojvodina town 12 miles northeast of Belgrade.
Belgrade radio said the Kosovo Serbs decided against attending the demonstration to comply with a call by the Yugoslav Communist Party presidium Wednesday for an end to the protest rallies.
Two weeks ago Kosovo Serbs held a rally in Vojvodina's capital of Novi Sad but received little support from Vojvodina Serbs.
Vojvodina's leadership last week claimed Milosevic was behind the Novi Sad demonstration.
The state news agency Tanjug said the rally in Pancevo ended peacefully.
Tanjug said about 30 Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo who did come to Pancevo met with local officials and organizations.
It quoted Pancevo Mayor Radomir Dangubic as saying the town supported the demands made by the Kosovo Serbs.
About 90 percent of the population in Kosovo are ethnic Albanians and some 25 percent of Vojvodina's inhabitants are ethnic Hungarians who traditionally fear Serbian dominance.