05.10.

2000: Mass Demonstrations in Belgrade Lead to Slobodan Milošević’s Resignation

2000: Mass Demonstrations in Belgrade Lead to Slobodan Milošević’s Resignation
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 5 October 2000
  • On this day, the Democratic Opposition of Serbia gathered a large number of people in front of the Federal Assembly building, in order to protest against the rigged elections set up by the Federal Election Commission on Slobodan Milošević's orders.

After it was announced that opposition candidate Vojislav Koštunica had received 49% of the vote in the first round of elections (i.e. 1% less than was required), and that a second round would therefore be held, the Democratic Opposition of Serbia called upon the citizens to gather before the Federal Assembly building on 5 October 2000, in order to protest against the rigged elections set up by the Federal Election Commission on Slobodan Milošević’s orders.

Vojislav Koštunica demanded that Milošević admits defeat in the presidential elections, and warned about the possibility of violence engulfing the country should he refuse, stating:

“We cannot run in any second round of elections, because by doing it we would become accomplices in the theft of the citizens’ vote. The fraud committed in the first round cannot be annulled by the second, fifth or any other round. On the contrary, the fraud would just be deepened and intensified, and I would risk to lose the confidence of the voters.”

At 15:35 on this day, a large group of people entered the Yugoslav Parliament building through a window. Through the use of a large quantity of tear gas, the police managed to drive back most of the protesters.

However, several dozen of them broke into the Parliament at around 16:00, while the police who had until then been guarding the building retreated. A thick black smoke was rising up from the right wing of the Parliament, and almost all its windows were broken.

The very next day (on 6 October), Milošević officially admitted his defeat on TV. The new president, Vojislav Koštunica, was inaugurated the next day.

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