Rally calls for early elections in Vojvodina
SOURCE: BETA, RADIO 021, TANJUG
NOVI SAD -- A rally was held in Novi Sad on Friday under the slogan, "Stop the breaking up of Serbia", prompted by a proposed declaration on Vojvodina's rights.
Socialist Party (SPS) Provincial Board President Dušan Bajatović addressed the protesters today and called on Bojan Pajtić (DS) to resign as head of the province's government and schedule early elections in Vojvodina.
"We will give them very little time (to do this)," Bajatović warned, and added:
"I am calling on them to sit down urgently and agree on the manner in which provincial elections will be called, so that we can win, along with you."
Bajatović said in his address that no separatism will happen in Vojvodina - "not because the provincial authorities do not want it, but because the people will not allow it."
According to him, the provincial authorities - led by the Democrats (DS), who are in opposition on the state-level - now have only two choices: either to trigger early elections with Pajtić's resignation, or have Vojvodina Assembly President Ištvan Pastor schedule the polls.
The rally today started with the sounding of the national anthem, "God of Justice", and brought together supporters of the Serb Progressives (SNS), led by Novi Sad Mayor Miloš Vučević, and party vice-presidents Igor Mirović and Goran Knežević.
Movement of Socialists leader Aleksandar Vulin also took part, as did his party colleague Maja Gojković.
They were joined in front of the provincial government building by SPS and United Serbia (JS) officials, including Bajatović.
The rally was addressed and supported by members of several student and trade union organizations, as well as the coalition gathered around the SNS and the SPS, the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), the Dveri Movement, and the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO).
The police were out in force, after announcing earlier in the day that they would undertake all necessary measures to protect the citizens and their property during the protest.
A banner has been put up in front of the provincial government HQ in the colors of the Serbian flag, with the words "Vojvodina Serbia" written in large letters. Underneath, the same message was written in the Latin script and in Hungarian and Slovakian - the languages of two of the province's many ethnic minorities.