About 5,000 Yugoslav workers tried to force their way into the Parliament Tuesday to demand the resignation of Premier Branko Mikulic's government but were held back by a cordon of police.
The protesters marched about 10 miles from an industrial Belgrade suburb to the legislature to protest low wages and falling living standards.Hundreds of police stationed in front of the building stopped the protesters from entering.
Demonstrators booed and jeered Deputy Premier Milos Milosavljevic and Parliament President Dusan Popovski, who both tried to deliver speeches during the four-hour protest.
They dispersed peacefully only after they were addressed by Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian leader hailed by supporters as "the second Tito."
"Your demands are the demands of the entire Yugoslav working class," said Milosevic, who promised that personnel changes would be demanded at an Oct. 17 Central Committee session. "You can be sure that we will not betray you."
Workers of several enterprises, including an engine and tractor factory at Rakovica, six miles south of Belgrade, put down their tools and staged the march, demanding a 100 percent wage increase.
Yugoslavia has been faced with increasing social and labor unrest in the worst economic crisis in the country's history since World War II, including 217 percent inflation and a $21 billion foreign debt.
The labor unrest has worsened since May, when government austerity measures imposed hefty wage cuts and substantially hiked prices.