The Serbian republic's interior minister has stepped down after being blamed for last month's bloody crackdown on an anti-Communist rally in Belgrade, it was reported Wednesday.
The resignation of Radmilo Bogdanovic came after two people died in clashes between Serbian police and protesters in the March 9 rally against Serbia's communist government. More than 200 others were injured.Students and the opposition protested for several days after the killings, demanding Bogdanovic's resignation and the punishment of those responsible for the crackdown. Serbia's Interior Ministry controls the republic's police.
Serbia's parliament accepted Bogdanovic's resignation despite the government's recommendation that it not do so, the state news agency, Tanjug, said. It said Bogdanovic would remain in his post until a replacement is named.
As the parliament session resumed Wednesday, opposition deputies walked out in protest because the session was not broadcast live on Belgrade television.
After a one-hour break, the session resumed when the television agreed to broadcast the debate.
The parliament, dominated by ruling Socialists - the renamed Communists - later rejected opposition motions for the firing of Serbian Premier Dragutin Zelenovic, Industry Minister Dusan Matkovic and Justice Minister Predrag Todorovic for their roles in the March 9 disturbances, Radio Belgrade reported.
The opposition holds 56 seats in the 250-member legislature, while the Socialists have 194 seats. Wednesday's session was attended by 207 deputies.
In another development, metal and textile workers in Serbia said they will go on strike April 16 to back demands for better living conditions, more pay and the payment of salaries still owed to them by state-run companies.
Serbia, like the rest of the country, is going through a deep economic crisis, and thousands of workers in all sectors have not received full salaries for months.
Bogdanovic submitted his resignation at a parliament session Tuesday night after legislators adopted a report on the March 9 rally by a vote of 158 to 27, with one abstention, Tanjug said.