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Serbs demand curbs on autonomy

By Compiled from wire-service reports / October 7, 1988



The Communist Party leaders of Yugoslavia's Vojvodina province, under siege by some 100,000 protesters, said that they would offer their resignations yesterday. Protesters surrounded a regional party headquarters building in the Vojvodina capital, Novi Sad. They demanded that all the province's leaders quit and accused them of corruption and of blocking reform.

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The protest, the second to take place in as many days, was the fiercest in a crusade by Serbian Communist Party chief Slobodan Milosevic to curb the autonomy of Serbia's two provinces, Vojvodina and Kosovo, and bring them under Serbian control.

The resignations could also pave the way for wholesale changes in the national Communist Party leadership and in the parties of Yugoslavia's six constituent republics.

The crowd at the party headquarters demanded that Mr. Milosevic address them and carried banners saying ``Slobo help us.''

Belgrade radio reported that Milosevic was attending an emergency session of the Yugoslav Politburo and would go to Novi Sad afterward.

A cordon of some 1,000 policemen managed to hold back the crowd. They were reenforced by a special unit of riot police after demonstrators tried several times to storm the building.

According to radio reports, many people were still arriving in Novi Sad from other provincial towns.