Yugoslav Police Disperse Anticommunist Protesters
BELGRADE — YUGOSLAV police dispersed a crowd of about 500 people in central Belgrade and detained several people yesterday, a day after clashes in which a policeman and protester were killed and at least 76 people hurt. Police broke up the crowd that had formed peacefully and laid flowers in the Republic Square where police stormed an anticommunist protest Saturday with rubber bullets, tear gas, water cannon, and batons.
Reporters saw several people being pulled into police vehicles and the square was sealed off by more than 100 police and guarded by tanks and armored vehicles deployed after Saturday's violence. The rest of the city appeared calm.
Republic Square has been the center of many political rallies in recent months as the Communists' grip on power weakened and protests against the Communist authorities in the republic of Serbia increased.
Trouble flared Saturday in Belgrade, which is the Yugoslav and Serbian capital, when police stormed a rally at the square by about 30,000 people protesting against Communist control of the Serbian news media.
The Yugoslav presidency said it sent in troops to keep order and guard key buildings, such as the federal parliament, at the request of the Serbian authorities.
``Because of the destructive demonstrations in Belgrade, in which firearms were used and there were casualties, the leadership of the republic of Serbia asked the Yugoslav presidency to stop the brutal onslaught and violence of militant groups of demonstrators,'' a presidency statement said.
The two days of demonstrations followed months of growing tension and nationalism among Yugoslavia's six republics and many ethnic groups.
The situation worsened after six republics held free elections last year, with four of them ending communist rule.