In March 1989, Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic instituted a new constitution, beginning his nationalistic campaign to create a ‘Greater Serbia’
As part of the Yugoslav federation, the province of Kosovo was granted full autonomy in 1974, giving it almost the same rights as Yugoslavia’s six republics. Fifteen years later, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic proposed amendments to the Constitution of Serbia which would strip Kosovo of most of its autonomous powers. This prompted violent protests and on 3 March 1989 a state of emergency was declared, imposing direct rule from Belgrade over the province.
On 23 March 1989, the Assembly of Kosovo voted to accept the proposed amendments and five days later the Assembly of Serbia approved the constitutional changes effectively revoking the autonomy granted in 1974. Milosevic would go on to further fan Serbian nationalism, which ultimately led to the break-up of Yugoslavia and the ensuing wars of the 1990s.