Paris, Monday, March 20, 2000TV station closure sets off protests in Serbian town
KRALJEVO, Yugoslavia - Thousands of people gathered here in the biggest protest yet against a clampdown by the Yugoslav authorities on opposition media.
The protest in Kraljevo, central Serbia, on Saturday came after the authorities dismantled the main transmitter of the opposition-run local television station late Friday, the third closure of a local TV station last week.
"Under cover of darkness they seize our transmitter," Kraljevo's deputy mayor, Predrag Stojanovic, told the rally. "To our tolerance they respond with arrogance, and now they want to silence our television - but this we will not allow."
The crowd shouted, "We will not give up Kraljevo," "Red Gangsters" and "Slobo, Saddam," a reference to President Slobodan Milosevic and President Saddam Hussein of Iraq.
Earlier last week, Serbian police and telecommunications inspectors broke into television stations in Pirot, southern Serbia, and Pozega, western Serbia, closing them down. Several hundred people protested in Pirot on Saturday night for the third night.
Kraljevo television officials said that unlike the other stations that were closed down, they had received no notice about irregularities or outstanding debts.