The 22nd day of the civic protest in Nis, triggered off by an unheard
of electoral fraud, started with one procession and was finished off
with another one.
Nis University students marched from the Medical Faculty building, along the Brace Taskovic boulevard and Vozdova Street, all carrying balloons of various colours. In front of the City Court building, the students pierced all the red balloons, symbolizing their contempt for the judges who took part in the electoral fraud scandal. The procession, with only the green, blue, white and yellow balloons over their heads, proceeded towards the University office building, where professors Dragan Zunic, Djokica Jovanovic and Milan Petrovic addressed them. The student rally was over at about 3 p.m.
The 22nd citizens' rally began at the Main city square at 3 p.m. First, the citizens were informed, by Branislav Jovanovic, MP, about the current moves of the Coalition ZAJEDNO (Together) local officials. He said that the local Municipal Assembly members gathered at 10 am. today in front of the City Hall, demanding to be let in. The pre- election City government representatives,though, refused to talk to the legitimately elected opposition municipal assembly members.
Mr. Jovanovic added: "We announced that next Monday, when they are planning to have anothersession, we should come too, both you, the citizens and us, your representatives,to urge the City government gentlemen to see us.Toplica Djordjevic, the vice president of the Democratic Party City Board,pointed out: "The whole world is supporting us, and it is exactly becausewe have gathered here in a democratic but persistent wayday after day, sending them messages. Those messages have been wholeheartedlyaccepted all around the globe, and everybody knows that what we are struggling to achieve here is the law, justice and democracy. We have shownthat it is possible to raise your voice in a democratic and humane way,without violence. But it doesn't mean that we are going to put up withjust anything forever. It doesn't mean that we are going to put up withMr. Milosevic's arrogance, impudence and his threats."Predrag Cveticanin, teaching assistant at the Faculty of Philosophy, said:"The latest decision of the Supreme Court actually implies that all thelegal means have been exhausted, and that there is no possibility left for this scandal to be handled within the legal framework. However, this does notimply that all peaceful means of struggle have been exhausted. We'll fighttogether but peacefully; that way they cannot defeat us. This is the pointof no return. From this point on, there is only one side that can be thewinner. From this point on, it is certain that we win. But we must win peacefully.
When the one who has an obligation to hand over the rule after having lost in the election does not fulfill this obligation, you owe him nothing.You owe him no obedience."
Zoran Zivkovic pointed out:" This is no longer the movement of Vuk Draskovic, orZoran Djindjic, or Vesna Pesic, Bane Jovanovic or Zoran Zivkovic. This ispeople's movement, the movement of Nis citizens, your movement. And that's great.The people is always right." Zivkovic also added: " We have been to the CityHall this morning; we want to work. This country and this city deserve the people who want to work. We want to work, because you wanted us to do certain jobs, but they won't let us. And we should start working immediately.We must save what's left of Serbia." Closing his speech, he announcedtomorrow's guests, Srdja Popovic, president of Democratic Youth, and Ljubomir Madzar, a leading Serbian economist.More than 25.000 people joined the usual walk along the city streets, withthe local officials of the Coalition ZAJEDNO (Together) at the head of the procession. The Nis branch of the Coalition ZAJEDNO (Together) sent the following letterto the Presidents of the USA, Great Britain, Germany, France and Russia:
Dear Mr. President,
Today, December 10th, is the International Day of Human Rights. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is the signatory of all human rights declarations passed by the United Nations. These acts guarantee all political, social and economic rights such as the right to live, the freedom of speech and of the press, the freedom to congregate, the right to work and be educated, the right to express oneself in an artistic and scientific way, and the right of people to organize politically and in trade unions.These are fundamental rights guaranteed to every person regardless of his or her race, sex, political or religious affiliation, and many other differences. At the same time they are the conditions for a normal and free life.
In the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia these rights are only
acknowledged in documents, while in practice they are flagrantly violated. The regime in Serbia, in regards to human rights, falls into a group of extremely ruthless dictatorial regimes which ignore that human rights are an international obligation. Unfortunately, by violating these rights, the regime jeopardizes the existence of the whole nation. Such an abuse of these rights is particularly evident in Nis, where for twenty-one days tens of thousands of people have been protesting in peaceful demonstrations. The demonstrators are demanding that their rights, which are the minimum for a civilized human life, must not be suffocated.
The President of Serbia, Mr. Slobodan Milosevic has never listened to the voice of reason and request, but only to the voice of command. The President ofSerbia has never listened to the voice of his people but only to the orders ofthose more powerful than himself.
This is why we are pleading for you to use your influence in the world to uphold human rights. Putting your political pressure on the regime in Serbia, as well as on the President of Serbia would mean the beginning of the democratic process here. Of vital importance for the people of Serbia, Mr. Milosevic must respect international obligations regarding human rights by acknowledging the legitimate local elections results of November 17th, 1996, allowing free media and guaranteeing the organization of political and union groups.
Democratic Serbia is above all the highest interest of Serbian citizens, as well as the highest interest of the democratic world.
Our deepest regards,
On behalf of The Coalition ZAJEDNO (Together)
Vice President of the Democratic Party