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Friday, August 20, 1999 Published at 00:13 GMT 01:13 UK

Extracts from Draskovic's speech

It was the first anti-Milosevic rally in Belgrade for more than two years

More than 100,000 people attended the Belgrade rally against President Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia, at which organisers demanded Mr Milosevic's resignation within two weeks.

In a dramatic development, the controversial opposition Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) leader, Vuk Draskovic, addressed the rally despite having earlier withdrawn as a speaker. The following are excerpts from his speech, as broadcast live by the Free Serbia Website:

... Our Serbia is in prison; we are in prison.

Why are we in prison? We are in prison because at the helm of the federal state, at the helm of the Republic of Serbia, there are people who are there by pure accident, which did not depend on the will of the Serbian citizens and our people, and who are totally isolated from the world.

They cannot go anywhere, not to a single country in the world. They cannot even go to Montenegro; they cannot go to Kosovo.

No-one wants to meet them. No-one even wants to have a cup of coffee with them. They have to leave, so that Serbia can live. They have to go into the political past, so that Serbia can go into the future.

To help them along into that political past, the SPO came up with the concept of a transitional government on 10 June.

The transitional government has to be formed by political agreement among responsible people, from the opposition on the one hand and the ruling parties on the other hand ...

A large number of the opposition, a part of the opposition does not want this kind of government either.

[ image: Unity or fratricide, declared Mr Draskovic]
Unity or fratricide, declared Mr Draskovic
Well then, gentlemen, what do we want? Do we want to be set one against the other? No, we do not ... I know what we are like.

If we were to start fighting amongst ourselves, that would be the bloodiest fratricide and it would go on for so long that some kind of K-For or Serbia-For would have to separate us.

"So things being as they are, on behalf of the SPO, I urge this evening the responsible opposition in Serbia - and there is such a thing in Serbia - which wants changes quickly, which is not running away from elections, and which wants elections.

Rebuilding the Balkans
I urge this opposition: Let us immediately formulate the election conditions ... We want elections by the end of the year, elections by November, so that we can see the backs of them, and we will see the backs of them after the elections ... Slobodan Milosevic ... for us is already in the political past.

He will not resign. We will build our own future ... I want out of the prison and I will cut the bars, if need be, I will dig under the Danube, but Serbia must get out of this prison.

This is the path for Serbia to free itself from prison. I ask all the responsible representatives of the opposition to raise their hands.

Crimes against Serbs

One more message: Gentlemen from the United States, from Great Britain, France and Germany, you came here on behalf of the great Western democratic principles to establish order and peace in Kosovo and to remove the results of the ethnic cleansing that, according to you, the Serbs committed against the Albanians.

On behalf of the SPO, I condemn every crime committed against innocent Albanians ...

However, what has been happening since they arrived? Since they arrived, there has been no border with Albania.

They have annexed our Kosovo to a greater Albania ... Albanian gangs ... are roaming throughout Serbian Kosovo.

Serbs are being killed, kidnapped, raped and expelled.

Are these the principles of the United Nations? Are these the principles of Thomas Jefferson? Are these the principles of the great French Revolution?... Americans, there are no Milosevic police or army in your sector.

Frenchmen, the same goes for you.

Protect the citizens in the same way that you do in the United States, in France, in Italy, in Germany, in Britain ... Long live Serbia! Long live Serbia! Long live Serbia!

Source: BBC Monitoring Caversham 19 Aug 99

BBC Monitoring (, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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