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Milosevic farewell draws tens of thousands in Belgrade before hometown burial

[JURIST] Over 50,000 mourners gathered in front of the parliament building in Belgrade Saturday to mourn the death of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic [JURIST news archive], who last week was found dead in his prison cell [JURIST report] at The Hague where he was on trial for genocide and war crimes [ICTY case materials]. Saturday's farewell ceremony was organized by the Socialist Party of Serbia [Wikipedia backgrounder], Milosevic's own political party, as government authorities refused to grant an official state funeral.

Socialist Party leaders delivered speeches while many of Milosevic's supporters wept and carried photos and banners in support of the former leader. No members of Milosevic's immediate family appear to have attended the farewell, though former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark [JURIST news archive], who previously represented Milosevic and who is currently a member of the Saddam Hussein defense team, was present. Milosevic is scheduled for burial in his hometown of Pozarevac later today.

Commenting on the farewell rally, Serbian Foreign Minister and former Milosevic political rival and assassination target Vuk Draskovic noted that it was a "people's funeral," but ruefully observed that "All of the Belgrade squares would be too narrow to host those killed, crippled, displaced during [Milosevic's] rule." AP has more. From Belgrade, Radio B92 has local coverage.

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