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Protests in Serbia Archive
Odraz B92 Daily News Service

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    Odraz B92 vesti (by 6 PM), January 1, 1997

    e-mail: beograd@siicom.com      URL: http://www.siicom.com/odrazb/
            odrazb92@b92.opennet.org     http://www.siicom.com/b92/
    All texts are Copyright 1997 Radio B92. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

    NEWS BY 6 PM


    Hundreds of thousands of Belgraders celebrated the New Year's Eve
    in downtown Belgrade squares and streets last night. This was the
    largest celebration of the event in Belgrade to date. Despite
    unusually cold temperatures, the students of UofB began building
    up a carnival-like atmosphere at -10C in the square in front of
    the School of Philosophy, their usual gathering place, from which
    they set out on protest marches down the streets of Belgrade
    around 9 p.m. The main New Year's Eve event was organized by
    Zajedno coalition in the Republic Square. The square as well as
    the adjacent streets were packed with people. The entertainment
    program was performed by Belgrade's top actors. The midnight hour
    was signaled by fireworks. Zajedno leaders, Vuk Draskovic, Zoran
    Djindjic and Vesna Pesic were the first to wish Belgraders a happy
    New Year. Their message was: ``They're finished, we have won,''
    ``Long live democratic Serbia'' and ``Let us finish what we set
    out to do.''

    After that, thousands of people started dispersing to their homes,
    but dozens of thousands of Belgraders remained in the square for a
    rock concert by some of the country's most popular musicians. No
    riot squads could be seen in downtown Belgrade last night. The few
    traffic wardens on duty last night were more than willing to pose
    for photographs with those who came for the celebration there.
    Belgrade's central core was crammed with cars and large numbers of
    pedestrians until the small hours of the morning. All the while,
    the city resounded with the blaring of thousands of whistles,
    trumpets and horns.


    Chairman of Montenegrin Parliament Svetozar Marovic said in his
    New Year's message to the people in Montenegro, broadcast by the
    independent Montenegrin radio ``Antena M,'' that he expects
    ``those who had invited the OSCE mission to respect its report.''
    He stressed that ``Serbia and Montenegro, i.e. FR Yugoslavia, must
    not allow renewed isolation'' for this would ``jeopardize our
    country's development,'' reports Montena Fax.


    Vojin Dimitrijevic, lecturer at the School of Law at the
    University of Belgrade, said in an interview to the New Year's
    issue of the Montenegrin independent newspaper ``Monitor,'' that
    the present situation in Serbia can be overcome ``without
    bloodshed only if a member of the present government is found [to
    step in] as an interim solution, somebody who has not dirtied his
    hands so much that he cannot be forgiven.''  He said that while it
    would hard to find anyone to fit the bill from among those
    associated with the ruling circles in Serbia, this is not so with
    the Montenegrin government, reports Montena Fax. According to
    Dimitrijevic, ``We here [in Serbia] have someone who is truly out
    of his mind. Things have moved out of the domain of politics and
    into the domain of psychiatry, really. This lunacy presents a
    serious danger to us.''  He called on the ``sensible Montenegrin
    government'' to respond and take up its historic responsibility,
    adding that Belgraders in general view Montenegro's leaders as
    ``rather culpable [for this crisis] but still sane, rational


    A New Year's message by Slavko Perovic, leader of the Montenegrin
    Liberal Alliance and co-leader of the coalition ``Narodna Sloga''
    [People's Unity], said that this generation has the difficult task
    of getting rid of the ``last communist dictatorial regime
    remaining in Europe.'' He told the Montenegrin independent radio
    ``Antena M'' that the last but one such regime is ``that in
    Serbia, the regime of Slobodan Milosevic, and the last will be the
    regime of Momir Bulatovic [in Montenegro],'' reports Montena Fax.
    Novak Kilibarda, leader of the People's Party and co-leader of the
    coalition ``Narodna Sloga,'' also spoke to the ``Antena M''
    expressing his hope that 1997 will see the victory of democracy in
    Montenegro. ``Narodna Sloga believes it will succeed, jointly with
    the democratic forces of Serbia, with Zajedno, to bring democracy
    into this country,'' said Kilibarda, calling on the Montenegrin
    ruling party to join the forces of democracy.


    The editorial published in the New Year's issue of the Montenegrin
    independent weekly ``Monitor'' condemns in the harshest terms the
    Montenegrin regime, which, it said, collaborated in one of the
    most gruesome crimes in the history of the Balkans [the war in
    former Yugoslavia].  It also takes the Montenegro authorities to
    task for stifling the voice of radio ``Antena M,'' already hardly
    audible in the clamor of the regime-owned media. It stressed that
    it was the regime that offered the radio its broadcasting rights,
    but changed its mind once it realized the radio did not air what
    the regime wanted it to. Miodrag Perovic, one of the founders of
    both the weekly ``Monitor'' and of the radio Antena M said in his
    editorial that there still is hope because inalienable human
    rights, the right to freedom of thought and speech being one of
    them, cannot remain at the mercy of the regime forever.


    Student Protest '96 is organizing an action titled ``Noise Is All
    the Rage,'' inviting Belgraders to gather in the square in front
    of the School of Philosophy at 7 p.m. today and bring with them a
    variety of ``noise-making instruments.''  The action, to begin at
    7:30 p.m. sharp, the time of the Radio Television Serbia's prime
    time news show, has an alternative title: ``All Confused''
    [allusion to a statement by Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan
    Milutinovic concerning the OSCE report].

    Belgraders are invited to come and ``make noise Together''
    [Serbian -- Zajedno].  The action is aimed at raising enough of a
    din to drown the lies broadcast over the state-owned television.
    The students will be banging on metal kitchenware, blowing on
    whistles, trumpets and many other noise-making gadgets.


    ``What the forthcoming days will bring to Serbia and the whole of
    the Balkans not even a Santa Claus could tell. The fate of Serbia
    is known only to these two: God Almighty and Serbian President
    Slobodan Milosevic,'' says the New Year's issue of the Russian
    weekly ``Moskovske Novosti.''  The weekly lists the Serbian
    President among the 5 personalities that figured most prominently
    in the news last year, reports Branko Stosic for FoNet. ``Slobodan
    Milosevic made the point of being in the focus of the world's
    attention in the course of 1996. At the beginning of the year, he
    was the indispensable peacemaker; by the end of 1996, he had
    become the implacable foe of his opposition. If the first fact
    considerably increased his international standing, the second
    conspicuously diminishes it,'' said the weekly. Stressing that the
    international community will easily forget the first if he chooses
    to disregard the OSCE recommendations to reach a settlement with
    the ``disobedient opposition'' peacefully, the weekly said the
    route he will take cannot be predicted. ``To grasp what Milosevic
    wants today is, as usual, very difficult,'' concluded the weekly.

    Prepared by: Aleksandra Scepanovic
    Edited by: Vaska Andjelkovic (Tumir)

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    e-mail: beograd@siicom.com      URL: http://www.siicom.com/odrazb/
            odrazb92@b92.opennet.org     http://www.siicom.com/b92/

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