'The Revolution Has Been Postponed for a Siesta'

  • Share
  • Read Later
BELGRADE, 11 a.m. EST — The mass rally that the opposition was to hold this afternoon, where it may or may not launch an open-ended general strike until Milosevic steps down, was scheduled to start at 2 p.m. But not enough people showed up. So opposition leader Zoran Djindjic told everyone to go home and get some rest, and come back at 8 p.m. So the revolution was postponed for a siesta.

The opposition is trying to launch a general strike and campaign of civil disobedience to bring down Milosevic, but it remains to be seen whether they have the organization necessary to pull it off. And also whether the people who by this point are physically and emotionally exhausted will have enough energy for this.

The military has said it will not intervene, but this should not be read as a sign that the top brass are breaking from Milosevic; rather the statements by General Nebosja Pavkovic that the army would not be ordered to act against the people should be read as coming from Milosevic himself. Some may have speculated that Pavkovic is looking for a place in a Kostunica government, but there's no chance of that. He was Milosevic's choice to head the army, even though he enjoys little support within the ranks. And he actively campaigned for Milosevic.

The fact that the Orthodox Church has come out in support of Kostunica was also to be expected. They actively supported the 1996 protests against Milosevic's attempts to steal the municipal elections.

At this point Milosevic is still hoping to tough it out. It remains to be seen whether the opposition can force him to change his mind.