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Hundreds of thousands march at funeral

Published Mar 21, 2006 10:37 PM

Supporters of Slobodan Milosevic
surround coffin during a memorial service
in Pozarevac before the funeral.

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered for Slobodan Milosevic’s funeral in Belgrade on March 18. Cathrin Schuetz, a leading member of Milosevic’s defense committee (ICDSM) from Germany, said, “The view from the podium was impressive. People filled the main square and the side streets as far as the eye could see.” (Junge Welt, Jan. 20)

From the time Milosevic’s body was flown from The Hague to Belgrade on March 15 to his burial in his nearby hometown of Pozarevac, the corporate media in Western Europe and the United States attempted to minimize the number of mourners. First reports put them at “hundreds,” and later ones claimed they were all older, retired people.

Schuetz made it clear that not only was the funeral march massive—one Belgrade radio station said 500,000 were present—but that it was made up of people of all ages who expressed both sorrow at Milosevic’s death and rage at those who persecuted him.

Among the international delegation from the ICDSM were former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Velko Valkanov from Bulgaria, Aldo Bernardini from Italy, June Kelly from Ireland and a member of the political bureau of the Communist Party of Greece. Russia sent a delegation, in which all parliament parties were represented, among them Konstantin Satulin of President Vladimir Putin’s party, Sergei Baburin, vice-speaker of the parliament, chairperson of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Gennadi Zyuganov and retired Gen. R. Leonid Ivashov.

The pro-Western government in Serbia prevented Milosevic’s closest family members from attending the funeral, including his widow and political comrade of almost five decades, Mira Markovic, and their son Marko Milosevic, because criminal charges in Serbia—widely recognized as trumped up and political in nature—hang over both of them.

Clark had visited Yugoslavia with a delegation from the International Action Center twice during the U.S.-NATO 78-day bombing attack in 1999. Speaking at the funeral ceremonies, he concluded, “History will prove Milosevic was right. Charges are just that, charges. The tribunal did not have facts.”

—John Catalinotto