The communist leadership of the northern province of Vojvodina said Thursday it will resign. The announcement came after 50,000 people rallied to demand the ouster of the politicians in a deepening economic crisis.
Milovan Sogorov, president of the Communist Party Central Committee of Vojvodina, made the announcement in Belgrade at an emergency session of the Communist Party of Serbia, which controls the autonomous northern province, the official Tanjug news agency reported.The Central Committee was to implement the resignations at an emergency meeting this evening in this provincial capital, about 40 miles north of Belgrade, state television reported.
The resignation could pave the way for wholesale changes in the national Communist Party leadership and in the parties of Yugoslavia's six constituent republics.
Angry crowds in Novi Sad chanted "We want resignations!" as they gathered in front of the Communist Party Central Committee headquarters.
The state news agency Tanjug estimated the crowds at 100,000, but an Associated Press reporter at the scene estimated about 50,000 people were on the streets at midafternoon.
The protesters tried to force their way into the party headquarters, but cordons of police, including a riot unit, blocked their way.
The crowds then moved to a larger square. Loudspeakers broadcast shouted slogans about Yugoslavia's growing problems, which includes 217 percent inflation, a 15 percent unemployment rate and a $21 billion foreign debt.
The flag-waving demonstrators chanted "Police go away!" "We are going to smash windows!" and "We want freedom!" and demanded the immediate resignation of the provincial Communist leadership, according to the witnesses.