Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 23:49:10 -0500 (CDT)
From: (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Auto Workers Bombed By US/NATO
Article: 61098
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <>

/** 285.0 **/
** Topic: Auto Workers Bombed By US/NATO **
** Written 8:37 PM Apr 11, 1999 by labornews in **

More than 100 hurt in NATO attack on factory

By Juliana Mojsilovic, Reuters, 11 April 1999

More than 100 workers were injured on Friday after NATO missile wrecked part of a major car and munitions factory in central Serbia. An amateur video obtained by Reuters television showed the night sky turning crimson after huge explosio ns shook the sleepy town of The target was the Zastava factory, Serbia's biggest employer, where some of the 38,000 workers had earlier organised a human shield against NATO bombing. “No one here believed they would dare hit Zastava,” the head of the factory's board of directors, Milan Beko, told Reuters by telephone. “But we were wrong.”

No deaths were reported, but Serb state television said 124 workers were injured, 10 of them seriously. Fire and ambulance sirens blared as rescue teams rushed to the scene, the video showed. Hospital corridors were crowded with doctors tending the wounded. “I can only tell (U.S. President Bill) Clinton—we will build a new factory. He cannot destroy everything,” said a woman shivering on a stretcher, her head bandaged. The video showed firefighters in the grey early-morning light still trying to put out blazes. Several new cars lay wrecked. Reuters Television footage shot later showed extensive damage to the factory. Beko said the missiles wrecked five car and lorry assembly units, while one hit a factory forge. A company statement said the bombs also caused serious damage to electricity and heating plants supplying local schools, hospitals and homes. “We have taken care of much of the toxic material from the painting plant, but we fear some poisonous substances may have leaked and the painting plant is a possible toxic bomb not only for Kragujevac but for a much wider region,” Beko told a news confe rence.

The bombing leaves about 38,000 jobless people at the plant, according to Beko. He said another 60,000 people who work in companies supplying Zastava would also be affected. Later in the day, several thousand workers gathered around the rubble of their workplace to protest againt NATO bombing, Beta news agency reported.