Tears for fallen Serb leader but not for Milosevic

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BELGRADE, Mar 12 (Reuters) Serbs paid emotional tribute to assassinated reformist Zoran Djindjic today, the third anniversary of his death, but there was no outpouring of grief for Slobodan Milosevic who died in detention in The Hague.

Two of five Sunday newspapers -- both from the same publishing stable -- published provocative headlines saying Milosevic was ''murdered'' by The Hague war crimes tribunal.

The others, including the pro-government daily Politika, had extensive reaction and background stories under neutral headlines. Politika's was simply: ''Death of Milosevic''.

''Death before the verdict,'' said the daily Blic, noting that ''Milosevic's wife demands autopsy and funeral in Moscow''. The widow, Mira Markovic, faces arrest on corruption charges if she returns to Serbia from Russia where she fled in 2003.

Apart from a vigil by a hundred diehard and mostly elderly supporters at his old Socialist party office, there was little display of emotion for Milosevic, the strongman who led Serbia into war, international sanctions, poverty and pariah status. He was found dead in his cell in The Hague yesterday.

However, hundreds including President Boris Tadic streamed through driving rain to Belgrade's main cemetery to place wreaths at the grave of Djindjic.

There were no speeches, no sound bites, no statements.

The dynamic young premier who sent Milosevic to The Hague in 2001 was assassinated by hardliners on March 12 three years ago, in a terrible blow that knocked the nation's infant reform movement to its knees but failed to snuff it out.

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