October 7, 1988, Section A, Page 1Buy Reprints View on timesmachine TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. About the Archive This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems. Please send reports of such problems to [email protected]
A wave of Serbian nationalism that has caused concern throughout Yugoslavia led today to the resignation of the head of government and the entire Politburo of an autonomous province of Serbia.
After tens of thousands of protesters walked off their jobs Wednesday and besieged Communist Party headquarters in this city, the capital of the province of Vojvodina, the provincial leadership yielded to their demands to step down.
Yugoslavs and foreign diplomats said it was the first time that the leadership of a Yugoslav republic or province had been prompted to resign by street demonstrations. Trouble Started in July
Among those who resigned was the President of the province, Nandor Major. The Vojvodina party leader, Milovan Sogorov, said a 10-member provisional group would be established while new leaders were chosen for the province.
The Vojvodina leadership first aroused the anger among the province's two million people in July by moving against a rally by Serbians protesting what they said was ill treatment of the Serbian minority in Kosovo Province by an ethnic Albanian majority.
With the support of Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian party chief, such rallies have been taking place throughout Serbia and its autonomous provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo. Serbian Power Is Issue
Kosovo and Vojvodina, under the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution, are autonomous provinces of Serbia with a considerable degree of self-rule. They were given that status at the insistence of the other regions of Yugoslavia, which sought to diminish the power of Serbia, the largest of the six republics of Yugoslavia. Of 23 million Yugoslavs, 8.1 million are Serbs.
Fifty-four percent of the people of Vojvodina, a rich agricultural region north of Belgrade, are Serbians. There is a large ethnic Hungarian minority, and some of its members were also prominent among the demonstrators today.
Mr. Milosevic, hailed as a hero by many who chanted his name in the Novi Sad crowd, has benefited from the surge of Serbian patriotism to gain the acceptance by the national Communist Party leadership of constitutional amendments that will increase Serbian control over the two provinces. These are expected to be approved this month.
Diplomats and Yugoslavs speculated tonight about whether Mr. Milosevic, whose hold over crowds is great, had had a hand in organizing the Novi Sad demonstrations. Wednesday's demonstrations began when a group of residents from a nearby town rode into Novi Sad to defend their party chief and Mayor, who had been criticized by the Politburo for supporting the constitutional changes. They were quickly joined by townspeople and later by truckloads and busloads from other communities. Protest Over Economy
Perhaps even more strongly than in previous meetings, the protesters today used the occasion to vent long-contained anger against the Communist Party bureaucracy and the 200 percent annual inflation and wage restraints, which are steadily reducing the standard of living. They did so in speeches, slogans and homemade posters and banners.
''We have strength, but we have no bread,'' a poster proclaimed. ''The same bread for everybody,'' another declared. It referred to the low-quality, cheap ''people's bread,'' which since last summer bakeries have been required to produce for the majority, who cannot afford bread of the customary quality.
They pelted party officials Wednesday and this morning with whatever came to hand, mainly chunks of bread, plastic cups of yogurt and slabs of salami. ''Balkans, Balkans,'' a man in the crowd said to a foreigner, as if to apologize for the unruly demonstrators.
Then he turned toward a party official speaking from the top step of the headquarters building and, without having heard him, shouted: ''You lie! You lie!'' Others took up the chant. Armchairs for Bureaucrats The crowd jeered joyously when a group trooped into a sports complex where a rally was held bearing aloft a worn-out armchair. Armchairs are regarded as the symbol of the heavy proliferation of nonproductive administrative bureaucracies in a country that sustains eight republican and provincial government structures, parallel party hierarchies and a similar tandem at the federal level.
''Leaders who won't follow the wishes of the people must resign,'' an anonymous speaker said to enthusiastic cheers, speaking from the steps of party headquarters.
Tonight, while the Central Committee of the Vojvodina party organization met to accept their leaders' resignations by an 87-to-10 vote, a crowd estimated by Belgrade television at 100,000 milled about the heavily guarded building and continued to shout for their ouster.
Some windows were reported to have been broken in the building, and a newspaper photographer suffered head wounds from a thrown bottle.