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Protests in Serbia Archive
Some remarks on continuation of the protests in Serbia

From: War Resisters International <warresisters@gn.apc.org>
Newsgroups: yugo.antiwar
Subject: Belgrade protests: Bojan Aleksov com
Date: Mon, 02 Dec 1996 13:51:37 +0000

The aim of this article is not to make report about the new events or to try to analyze the situation as this requires much more space and necessary indepth background. It is just a comment from an observer and participant in the events (marches and rallies all over Serbia, students' strike and all the other protests of the annulment of the election results in towns where opposition to Milo{evi} Socialist party had won).

  1. As I already said the protests have started when the freely and democratically expressed will of citizens of Serbia (or one can say of Belgrade, Nis, Pancevo, Zrenjanin, Pirot...) was cancelled. So people are on the streets because their votes were brutally stolen or cancelled and not because state television propaganda drove them out and manipulated them. They didn't come out on streets to demonstrate against any other people or call for war. For people in Europe or America where elections and their procedures are well established, this might sound strange, but people in Serbia should also have the right to vote and elect their representatives using this most common political procedure in the world today.

  2. Any meeting or demonstration of 200 000 people (that is how many people walked the streets of Belgrade tonight) is a potential danger and can very soon turn to herd mentality but so far the facts speak differently: So far these frustrated people whose suffering is completely unknown to the Western Countries are just throwing eggs at the Television station which says they are only a hundred hooligans when they are a hundred thousand peaceful demonstrators. I dare to say that such kinds of demonstrations are not possible in any of the "democratic" countries of Europe or America where such big number of demonstrators would definitely provoke violence.

  3. The reason we participate and support these demonstration is not our support of the opposition leaders. It is not only that they are nationalistic but that they are also ignorant, without experience, greedy, authoritarian, craving for power...
    We support each other, all our friends who are on the streets. We support the people who are liberating themselves from fear. (They have lived in a militaristic, totalitarian society for previous half a century and not to mention what was before).
    We support their right to protest.
    We support the demand for change as we hold those in power now guilty for the war.
    All the others can be only morally responsible but they were not decisionmakers.
    We support the peaceful method of protest and try to enrich it with our presence, ideas and strategies.
    We support the independent media in Serbia which is now repressed more than ever because of reporting from the demonstrations. (B 92 is constantly hindered, independent radio Ozon in ^a~ak is banned, daily newspaper Bliz destroyed...)

  4. People of Serbia are still very nationalistic, racist, sexist, homophobic, antisemitic. I was a victim of these attitudes all these years and have no illusions they will be swept away quickly if ever.
    But I also know people of Germany, France, Britain or US share the same attitudes and are still not deprived of the right to vote, protest or have independent medias. The guilt and responsibility of people in Serbia for the war in Croatia and Bosnia is obvious. The decontamination of war and nationalistic attitudes is a longterm process possible only in the society where basic human and citizens' rights are respected. That is why I as an antimilitarist and anti-authoritarian support these protests without much illusions but with sincere, honest and well- intentioned thoughts on my mind.

    Bojan Aleksov
    30. XI 1996

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