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Protests in Serbia Archive
Odraz B92 Daily News Service

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    Odraz B92 vesti (by 9 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 9 PM


    US media gave comprehensive coverage to the celebration of New
    Year's Eve in Belgrade's Republic Square, where, they said, some
    150,000 people gathered to wish a happy and free year of 1997 for

    ``Washington Post'' noted President Milosevic's failure to mention
    in his New Year's address the opposition and student protests or
    the OSCE demand that he accept the opposition victory in 9
    Belgrade municipalities and 13 other cities in Serbia by the end
    of this week, reports Slobodan Pavlovic for FoNet. Quoting
    diplomatic sources, the Washington daily reports that Milosevic
    and his Foreign Minister Milutinovic did not wish to meet Western
    representatives to discuss Serbian response to the OSCE
    recommendations. Instead, Western diplomats had a meeting with
    Yugoslav Assistant Foreign Minister Cicanovic and were told that
    due to the New Year holiday break, a full implementation of these
    will not be possible before Friday.

    The only thing confirmed in Washington concerning this issue is
    that the OSCE will examine the situation in Serbia and Milosevic's
    response to the demand they have put to him at its meeting in
    Vienna this Friday. Only after this meeting will the US government
    make its future steps known. What these might be, should
    Milosevic's government fail to comply with the OSCE
    recommendations, has already been indicated to Belgrade through
    both diplomatic channels and public statements.


    After 6 days of having their protest walks blocked by the police,
    UofB students managed to marched in the streets of Belgrade
    tonight. ``We don't have a TV station but we have tom-toms and we
    are heard far enough'' was the working title of tonight's action
    by the students, who were joined by tens of thousands of
    Belgraders. Even greater numbers of capital-dwellers joined the
    action from their balconies and windows, banging on various
    kitchenware and other objects. The Steering Board acted quickly on
    the fact that there were no police forces in the streets and
    decided to organize an impromptu march. The students who took part
    in the walk taunted the authorities by chanting ``Give us back our
    police cordons.''  Students are to gather again tomorrow at 6 p.m.

    As expected, the state-owned media failed even to mention
    yesterday's street celebrations in Belgrade. Their reports said
    Belgraders celebrated New Year's Eve in their homes, as usual.


    New Belgrade was tonight the nosiest part of the city, making the
    opposition neighborhoods in the old part of the city ashamed of
    themselves. New Belgrade is notorious for its staunch support of
    the left coalition, being the residence of old age pensioners and
    military staff, so its participation in tonight's sound-protest
    came as a surprise to many. Dorcol, one of the oldest parts of the
    city, also stood out by the vivacity of its residents' protest
    against the state media coverage of the current events.


    In many cities across Serbia, in which street protests at the
    nullification of the local electoral results have been staged for
    over a month now, protest festivities were held last night also,
    to usher in the New Year. Upwards of 10,000 people turned out in
    Kragujevac for a protest march which took place just after
    midnight. The newly-elected municipal officials, among whom were
    the Zajedno representatives of course, were among the marchers.

    In a carnival atmosphere complete with fireworks, torches,
    firecrackers and balloons, over 50,000 people celebrated the New
    Year's Eve in the central square of Nis. A Zajedno representative
    from Nis told Radio B92 there were no incidents with the police,
    commending the head of the Nis Police Department, who ranked high
    in popularity in a polling list Nis Television 9 carried out among
    its viewers. Zajedno representatives called on the gathered
    citizens to keep up their struggle for democracy and come out
    again tomorrow for a rally at 3 p.m. This was the first outdoors
    celebration of a New Year's Eve in this city.

    After a protest rally organized by the coalition Zajedno, some
    3,000 celebrated New Year's Eve in downtown Jagodina, too. In
    Leskovac, some 7,000 people celebrated in the streets. The
    celebration was organized by the City Assembly and the privately
    owned Radio 016. The president of the City Assembly of Leskovac
    did not manage to wish his fellow-citizens a happy New Year:
    either because of the jeering that came from the crowds or because
    of some technical difficulties with the sound-system. People
    danced traditional folk dances in three separate hora-circles,
    with that formed by Zajedno supporters being the largest. Several
    policemen were observed in the square, while four hours prior to
    the celebration heavy riot squads prevented Zajedno supporters
    from going on their protest march through the city streets. Some
    of them did prison circles in front of the police instead.

    Over 15,000 Kraljevans accepted Zajedno's invitation to celebrate
    the New Year's Eve together. An ox was roasted in Kraljevo's
    central square. The protest in Kraljevo at the nullification of
    electoral results is to continue tomorrow afternoon at 5.

    Some 20,000 waltzed last night in the streets of Novi Sad, cheered
    by champagne and fireworks. The celebration was organized by the
    newly elected [opposition] City Assembly.


    Former Yugoslav Prime Minister Milan Panic said in his New Year
    message to the students that Serbia's future was in their hands,
    stressing he hopes they are aware of the responsibility they have
    in these historic days. ``I wish you to persevere in your struggle
    and let nothing stop you on the road you have chosen,'' his card
    said. It expressed his full support for the students, asking them
    to give his best wishes to all of democratic Serbia.


    The New Year's message Croatian President Tudjman delivered to the
    crowds in Zagreb's Bana Jelacica Square highlighted two wishes: to
    enter Vukovar as a victor in the recent war and to see an increase
    in Croatia's standard of living. He expressed his hope that his
    supporters will join him when he takes Croatia to Vukovar and to
    the Croatian part of the Danube valley.


    Peace and the unity of Bosnia-Herzegovina were the two major
    wishes its President Alija Izetbegovic had for the forthcoming
    year. What lies ahead of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Izetbegovic said, is
    hard work to secure the unity of the country, restart industrial
    production, ensure benefits for the soldiers and the families of
    those who perished in the war, and provide education for the youth
    and protection for the elderly. Most important, he said, is the
    effort to secure the peace and strengthen the defense of the
    country. All people of good-will should take part in this,
    regardless of their religious confession, ethnic background or
    their political orientation, said Izetbegovic.

    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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