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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 2, 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


    A statement issued today after the episcopal consultations held by
    the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church says: ``The Serbian
    Orthodox Church sternly condemns the falsification of electoral
    results, the stifling of political and religious freedoms, and
    especially the beatings and murders of people in the streets of a
    once freedom-loving Belgrade and throughout Serbia. The Holy Synod
    condemns this government for not having respected the electoral
    will of the people, but above all for tarnishing our illustrious
    and painful history, our national memory, our dignity, the name of
    Serbia, the Cyrillic script, and our spiritual and national
    values. The Holy Synod also condemns this government for its
    betrayal of western Serbian regions, for leading the nation and
    the state to a complete breakdown and the people to utmost penury,
    for setting us at odds with the whole world, and now trying to
    make us quarrel among ourselves and shed blood only so as to be
    able to stay in power. The Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox
    Church, as an age-long protector of national sanctities and
    values, strongly and publicly condemns this sort of behavior by
    the ruling regime. Serbian bishops firmly believe that only
    respect for the democratic principles and human rights and the
    acknowledgment of the Nov. 17 electoral results can bring hope for
    a better future and peaceful living to the whole Serbian nation
    and to the other citizens of Serbia.''


    Dozens of thousands of Zajedno supporters gathered for their 43rd
    protest meeting against the nullification of the second round
    electoral results in many towns and municipalities in Serbia. They
    were surrounded by heavy riot squads posted in Belgrade's Republic

    Vuk Draskovic, leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement, said that
    we are entering the new year with great hope, but also with great
    anxiety and trepidation. ``What we demand is first, acknowledgment
    of the Nov. 17 electoral results, and then that the head of state
    complies with the instructions by the OSCE mission he himself
    invited to this country.''  Draskovic stressed: ``[Given this], as
    democratic and responsible people, we would immediately cease our
    demonstrations without the help of police cordons, and give the
    regime a chance for a democratic dialogue, for talks about the
    responsibility of those who have falsified the electoral results,
    who shot Ivica Lazovic and killed Predrag Starcevic, and we would
    demand that the media be freed.''  Draskovic said he has received
    information that the Serbian President has opted for a renewal of
    tensions between Serbia on the one hand and Europe and the US on
    the other. He added that Milosevic has decided to ``keep Serbia in
    a concentration camp'' and that he is preparing to rob the people
    once again, this time of their future. ``I hope that this man, who
    fabricates lies and then comes to believe in them himself, will
    realize in a few days that he is now the president of a couple of
    police squads, a handful of war profiteers, some thieves and the
    local mafia gathered around JUL and that the majority is against
    him.'' ``For us to win, please turn to the streets in the coming
    days, here where the decisive battle is going to be waged, and in
    greatest numbers ever, lest Serbia should descend to internecine
    wars in 1997. We shall celebrate the Orthodox Christmas Eve
    together, with Zajedno,'' was Draskovic's message.

    Leader of the Democratic Party Zoran Djindjic said that ``On the
    New Year's Eve, for a moment, Belgrade became the capital of the
    entire world, as prominent TV stations all across the globe
    reported live about our festivities here. The whole world watched
    us, except for the Serbian President and his television.''

    Vesna Pesic, leader of the Civil Alliance of Serbia, said: ``Our
    New Year's celebration was fascinating and proved we are one
    family, while Radio Television Serbia was busy showing us the
    festivities in China.'' ``They did not say a word about our
    celebration, but it is a major achievement for us that meaning has
    been returned to every citizen's life,'' said Pesic, adding that
    the people of Serbia had ``lived in humiliation until now and had
    believed things could only turn for the worse.'' ``Now we know it
    can only get better, and so we shall fight for our votes and for
    our Serbia and enter 1997 with optimism,'' said Pesic. After the
    meeting, the demonstrators marched up and down Knez Mihajlova
    Street, as several thousands riot police were deployed in the
    adjacent streets, reports FoNet.


    Several thousand students gathered in the square in front of the
    School of Philosophy today at 6 p.m. There were no speakers, this
    evening, but the action ``Noise Is All the Rage'' bore fruit. In
    their march, short due to the presence of riot squads, the
    students made noise with the help of some 15 professional
    drummers. A similar gathering is announced for tomorrow at 6 p.m.


    SPO leader Vuk Draskovic told Reuters Television today that
    despite Zajedno's resolve to keep the demonstrations peaceful, no
    one can guarantee that the participants in the protests in
    Belgrade streets will not defend themselves in case of renewed
    police assault on them, stressing that this could be the beginning
    of bloodshed and a civil war. He added that Milosevic's government
    is negotiating with paramilitary groups to crush the protests that
    have been going on in Belgrade and other Serbian cities for over a
    month now.


    A session by the Nis Electoral Commission today counted again the
    polling lists from 27 disputed polling stations, a Zajedno
    representative in the commission told Radio B92. She said the
    coalition Zajedno believed fresh balloting would make no sense.
    Zajedno thinks the current, renewed counting absurd for it
    believes a number of polling lists have been inserted on the sly;
    the members of the commission announced three days ago that these
    results are not to be trusted. The results now do not match either
    the original or the falsified electoral minutes, said the Zajedno
    member of the commission. She added that tomorrow's session is to
    discuss this repeat counting. She said the Public Prosecutor Golub
    Golubovic's resignation from his office in the commission was
    confirmed during today's session. A letter by the manager of the
    Nis Health Center, Branislav Teodorovic, also member of the
    Socialist Party of Serbia, was presented at this session:
    Teodorovic has now publicly given up his candidacy for the City


    The lead editorial in today's issue of ``Washington Post'' begins
    with the statement that ``The most urgent project in Europe in the
    new year is to ensure the people of Serbia the leadership of their
    democratic choice.''  The editorial goes onto say that such a
    result ``would not just bring relief to the 10 million people who
    live under Slobodan Milosevic in what has been called the last
    totalitarian regime on the continent. The example and policy of
    democracy in Serbia also would open the surest and shortest road
    -- if still a steep and rocky one -- to resolving tensions
    throughout the former Yugoslavia as a whole.''

    Throughout the past year, as international attention remained
    focused on Bosnia, President Milosevic managed to sell ``himself
    to the anxious West as essential to delivering the Bosnian Serbs
    to the agreed settlement,'' reads today's editorial in
    Washington's prestigious daily. ``Now, things are different. He
    seems either unable or unwilling to work further on Bosnia. His
    priority is his own increasingly parlous situation at home. In
    that role, however, he must answer sooner or later to a public
    that knows him as a leader who failed in his reckless goal of
    creating a 'Greater Serbia' and left his country broken and
    bereft, isolated and in disrespect everywhere,'' concludes the
    ``Washington Post'' editorial.


    Russian media report today that the position of the Serbian
    authorities is becoming more difficult each passing day as their
    chances of getting out of the corner they've painted themselves in
    are getting slimmer and slimmer, while the numbers of those who
    support their opponents become greater each day. The most popular
    TV station in the country, Russia's independent NTV said today
    that the Serbian Orthodox Church, which had already distanced
    itself form President Milosevic, is expected to openly side with
    the demonstrators today, Branko Stosic reports for FoNet. Russian
    media also say that Russia's neutrality of is no longer tenable.
    The Moscow weekly ``Novosti'' sees the opinion split clearly as
    that between the West, which is insisting on a democratic
    Yugoslavia, and Russia, which seems to favor a stable Serbia.
    Democratic changes in FR Yugoslavia now appear unavoidable: the
    sole question remains whether they will come from the top or the
    bottom, says the Moscow weekly, underlining that such changes are
    the primary condition for FR Yugoslavia's entry into Europe, and
    not only a major condition of preserving stability in the region.


    Radio Television Serbia's tonight's prime time news show did not
    say a word about the statement made earlier today by the Holy
    Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Neither did it mention the
    protest gatherings in Belgrade.

    A civil initiative group in Frankfurt and German university
    students will express their support for their counterparts at the
    UofB by a peaceful march before the Yugoslav Embassy in Frankfurt
    on January 5.


    A great number of Belgraders joined the action ``Noise Is All the
    Rage'' tonight by banging on all kinds of metal kitchenware, tin
    cans, pots and pans, and also twirling their rattles, ringing
    their bells, and by blowing on trumpets, whistles and all sorts of
    makeshift gadgets, too. People from all over the city have been
    phoning Radio B92 to report on the extent of noise in their
    neighborhoods. Radio B92 also received a number of complaints,
    especially from the neighborhood of Dorcol, for having awarded the
    title ``The Best Noise Making Neighborhood'' to New Belgrade last
    night. Radio B92's jury has decided to avoid such a situation
    tonight and simply not award the title. We have, however, decided
    to award the title of ``The Bravest Noise Making Street:'' it goes
    to the residents of Durmitorska Street, the site of both Republic
    and Federal Police Headquarters.

    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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