As usual, people walked peacefully along the streets of the capital, gathering in the end the Square of Liberty, where they were addressed by the leaders of the Coalition Zajedno.
Referring to the election fraud, Vuk Draskovic, leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement, said, "Serbia has risen not only against this fraud, but against all frauds committed since Slobodan Milosevic came to power." In his addressing he mentioned all the previous frauds for which Milosevic is to be held responsible; the loan allegedly intended for the reconstruction of Serbia, the robbing of the citizens of their savings, and of two centuries of Serbia's history, for hundreds of thousands of people left homeless, for robbing every individual in this country of his national and human dignity.
Commenting on the fierce anger caused by the presence of foreign flags carried in the protests, Mr. Draskovic said that only at these meetings, and in the reports of foreign media represented here, the Serbian flag can be seen among the flags of democratic world powers. He, then. Asked why our flag is not among the flags flying at East River and in front of the European parliament.
Dear citizens, dear friends!
Last night, through his television, Slobodan Milosevic turned on, again, on democratic countries' flags carried in our protests, condemning especially the presence of a German flag carried the other day.
The flag of present-day Germany, which in his opinion, the citizens of Serbia should find particularly shocking, is not the flag of Adolf Hitler but that of Willi Brandt, who was greatest when, kneeling down in Warsaw, he pleaded for pardon for all the wrongdoings committed by the Nazis to other nations as well as to the Germans themselves.
Demonstrators in Belgrade carried the flag of the Germany which has condemned her war criminals and which is not in any way related to Nazism, Hitler or swastika.
That Germany is the leading democratic and economic power of present-day Europe. In that country live and work half a million workers, left unemployed and hungry in Communist Serbia.
Why does Slobodan Milosevic not ask Serbian refugees from Bosnia and Croatian about how Germany provided homes and food for them, and then compare that with how he provided for the Serbian refugees in Serbia.
I personally would like to be Serbia's Willi Brandt. I plead for all the wrongdoings done by Milosevic to the Serbian people and to all others. The two of us are different from each other as much as Brandt was different from Hitler.
In more than thirty towns in Serbia, people are protesting against the shameless election fraud committed by the ruling regime. This was the cause why the group of the University of Nis students arrived in Belgrade after a forty-eight hour march where, at their request, they were received by the Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic.
The students informed the president about the election fraud in Nis, demanding that the will of the people expressed in the election be respected in other towns as well and that the victory of the Coalition Zajedno be recognized.
Over the last few days, in some smaller places in Serbia the Socialist party has organized counter-meetings in support of the policy led by Slobodan Milosevic.
Instead of showing respect for the will of the people expressed in the elections, Milosevic is forcing workers to protest in counter-meetings, trying to cause split in Serbian people and, in this way, stay in power. Serbian Renewal Movement Information Service
December 17, 1996
At today's press conference, Ivan Kovacevic, spokesman of the Serbian Renewal Movement /SRM/, said that it is the 28th day of protests and that the coalition Zajedno will not give up further demonstrations until the will of the people expressed in the second round of municipal elections is recognized.
When questioned on the restoring of election results in Nis, Smederevska Palanka in favor of coalition Zajedno, Mr. Kovacevic said that the latest court rulings are quite fair and that he hopes the courts in other towns will act in the same way.
Commenting on the fact that demonstrators carried flags of some foreign countries, he said, this is how people demonstrate their desire to become part of Europe, part of normal, developed World.
SRM gives support to the announced workers' protest as it is justified and based on hardships they are suffering - Mr. Kovacevic said, referring to today's workers' rally staged before the Serbian parliament.
In his comment on the OSCE commission visit to this country, Kovacevic said that its members should mainly be law experts rather than politicians, adding that its task should be to establish the facts, in which case its visit would be short.
The Council of Europe has shown a great interest in recent developments in Serbia and prospects for the solution of the current political crisis caused by the annulment of election results, giving victory to the coalition Zajedno in the second round of vote for local and municipal authorities.
European diplomats are quoted as saying that the events in Belgrade and Serbia are at the center of attention of Europe. They also express their support for democratic processes in Serbia.
Coalition Zajedno is agreed on the OSCE commission visit, emphasizing that such a commission should be given a clear, open mandate to establish the facts relating to the complete election process.
In their demand, trade union members request representatives to reject the passage of these bills which, according to them, are "anti-workers, anti-human and anti-existence".
The workers' protest is expected to be joined by workers from numerous organizations coming from the rebelling towns in Serbia.
Miners are under special pressure, because the authorities in this country feel threatened in case these workers take to streets.
United trade union "Nezavisnost" /Independence/, the largest trade union in the country, has invited all workers to voice their protest, to speak openly about the situation in which they live and work, and to request that the republican parliament put the following demands on the agenda without delay: payment of wages due for the past months, return to work and establishing the rule of law.
Coalition Zajedno and the students of University of Belgrade give the backing to the workers' protest.
According to the Serbian Renewal Movement Service Information Office, Serbian Supreme Court has today reversed the decision of the second municipal court in Belgrade by which the second round of vote was annulled in district Savski Venac, because "the mandate of the district election commission had expired." The court rejected the appeal for additional reexamination of the decision lodged by the Socialist party of Serbia./
This shows that the Supreme Court, after a number of manipulations with election results, has obviously recognized the victory of the coalition Zajedno in that district.
Serbian Renewal Movement Information Service