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Stormy Protests In Serbian Capital

Riot police on 30 October dispersed up to 1,000 angry workers in front of the Serbian parliament building, Reuters reported.

The protesters demanded the government's resignation on the first day of a long-delayed legislative debate on a series of no-confidence proposals regarding Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic's shaky government and parliamentary speaker Natasa Micic, who is also acting president.

Zivkovic told the parliament that "it is normal for workers to protest, but it is not normal for trade unions to have political demands."

Among the demonstrators' demands is an end to privatization, which the workers blame for job losses. Union leaders criticized what they called heavy-handed police tactics during the demonstration. Opposition legislators from the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) and Party of Serbian Unity (SSJ) left the parliamentary session to protest the large police presence outside.

(RFE/RL 31.x.03)

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