October 5, 2000


The Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) called citizens to gather on October 5, in front of the building of the Federal Assembly, in order to resist the great vote theft made by the Federal Polling Commission by the order of Slobodan Milošević. The DOS gave an ultimatum to Slobodan Milošević to recognize the will of the citizens, expressed in the federal, presidential and local elections of September 24, 2000, by Thursday, October 5, at 3:00 PM. It was also demanded that the general director, main editor and editorial staff of the Radio-Television of Serbia resign, and that this station change its editorial policy and provide impartial information about the events taking place in Serbia. The DOS requested that all arrested be released at once and all warrants and criminal charges be dropped against those who protested for the acknowledgement of the will of the citizens of Serbia expressed in the elections.

The President of the Federal Polling Commission Borivoje Vukčević informed the presidents of the polling commissions of the constituencies that the "preparatory activities were finished" for the second round of presidential elections, scheduled for October, 8. Vojislav Koštunica, the DOS's candidate for president, demanded from Slobodan Milošević to recognize his defeat in the first round of elections and pointed out the danger of open conflicts in Serbia. "We can not go to any second round whatsoever, because if we did, we would become accomplices in the theft of votes. The fraud in the first round cannot be annulled by a second, fifth or who knows which round."

The supporters of the DOS started to come to Belgrade in the early morning, organized from different directions, from all over Serbia, and led by the leaders of the DOS. Around 3:00 PM, the citizens gathered for the rally in front of the building of the Federal Assembly attempted to enter it. Around 3:35, a large group of them enterer the Yugoslav parliament through a window. Using a large quantity of tear gas, the police managed to disperse at least 200,000 people from the plateau in front of the building.

Dozens of people entered the building around 4:00 PM, while the policemen, which defended the building until then, made a retreat. Out of the right wing of the building a thick, black smoke emerged, and almost all window glasses on the building were broken. The demonstrator destroyed several police vehicles in Kosovska Street, behind the parliament building. During the fight between the police and the demonstrators a gunfire could be heard. Around 5:00 PM, the commander of the Belgrade police requested to talk to the representatives of the DOS. Around 6:00 PM, the members of the police station in Majke Jevrosime Street put away their weapons and joined the demonstrators. Dozens of citizens with light and heavy injuries were admitted to the Urgent Aid Center.

The police also used tear gas near the building of the Radio-Television of Serbia, while a loader started to make its way to the entrance. The building of the RTS in Takovska Street was then set on fire, and the RTS ceased broadcast after 5:00 PM. All three channels of the state TV station started to broadcast music, commercials and previously recorded programs. In the afternoon, the Radio-Television Studio B started to broadcast regular reports about the situation on the streets. Later, one by one, all other TV stations began to report about the real events on the streets of Belgrade. The only electronic media in Belgrade which before and after October 5 freely, professionally and continually reported about the crisis after the elections and about the protests, was the Radio Index (audio MP3, 1:40, 264 KB).

The new elected president of the FR of Yugoslavia, Vojislav Koštunica addressed the citizens in the afternoon, from the balcony of the building of the City Assembly of Belgrade, and later he appeared in the program of the Radio-Television of Serbia. During that evening, a constitutive meeting of the new City Assembly of Belgrade was held. Hundreds of thousands of people spent the night in the center of Belgrade, celebrating the victory, but also fearing of possible intervention of the Army and other security forces of the former regime. The Democratic Opposition of Serbia formed a crisis staff for the key positions in the country in coordination with the new president, and during the night, the DOS representatives had talks with the heads of state and public security services. In front of the building of the City Assembly, a great number of people welcomed the new morning. The first morning without the dictator in power.