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WORLD BRIEFING

Times Wire Reports

Thousands of Serbian workers protested in central Belgrade against government austerity measures in the biggest demonstration in the former Yugoslavia since the world financial crisis hit.

About 10,000 members of the Alliance of Independent Trade Unions, Serbia’s largest such group, assembled in Belgrade from all over the country. Union leader Ljubisav Orbovic said middle-class and blue collar workers would bear the brunt of the government’s anti-crisis plan.

“The government will create a small circle of profiteers and a huge number of losers,” he said.

Serbia’s parliament was scheduled to pass a revised budget to cut its deficit to 3% of gross domestic product and win a $3.98 billion International Monetary Fund loan.

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The budget plan consists of a public-sector wage freeze, higher income taxes, higher excise duties on gasoline, diesel and natural gas, and higher taxes on cellphone bills.


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