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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 3, 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


    Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Co-
    operation in Europe supported tonight the report by the OSCE fact-
    finding commission lead by Felipe Gonzalez and urged Belgrade to
    fully implement its recommendations, reports Reuters. In a special
    session, the Council examined Gonzalez's report and today's reply
    by Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic, who acknowledged
    Zajedno's victory in 9 Belgrade municipalities, Zrenjanin,
    Kragujevac and Uzice. Danish Ambassador Lars Vising, whose country
    began chairing the OSCE on Jan. 1, said that OSCE supports the
    recommendations of Gonzalez's report and calls for their prompt
    and full implementation. Denmark, as the chairing country, also
    expressed its readiness to continue the dialogue on improvements
    in the Serbian electoral system, freedom of the media and the
    establishment of an independent judiciary.


    Zajedno leaders announced today that they will go on with the
    street protests, despite the fact that Yugoslav Foreign Minister
    Milan Milutinovic's letter to the OSCE partially admits the
    opposition's victory in the local elections in some cities. One of
    Zajedno leaders, also head of the DS, Zoran Djindjic told Reuters
    that this letter represents ``a clear rejection of the OSCE
    recommendations,'' reports FoNet. ``We cannot go with partial
    solutions and shall continue our peaceful demonstrations until we
    achieve our goal -- the acknowledgment of our victory in the Nov.
    17 local elections in its entirety,'' he said. Another Zajedno
    leader and head of the SPO, Vuk Draskovic described Milutinovic's
    reply as full of equivocations and a rejection of the OSCE


    Head of the DS Zoran Djindjic characterized today's letter by the
    Yugoslav Foreign Minister to the OSCE as ``doubly insulting, once
    for its underestimation of the intellectual capacities of the
    members of the OSCE commission, and the second time to the Serbian
    people for having to put up with such a minister.'' ``The OSCE
    commission received full evidence of the electoral theft and now
    Milosevic is telling them a fairy tale, as if they were little
    kids, easy to fool. The OSCE [commission] came to Belgrade only to
    examine the falsification of the Nov. 17 electoral results, and he
    is now telling them about the results with were obtained after the
    fourth and fifth round [of balloting],'' Djindjic continued.  92.
    He said that it is insulting to the citizens of Serbia to have
    such a minister as Milutinovic, whose actions can only bring shame
    and embarrassment for Serbia. ``I am shocked at the level of
    ignorance, impudence and incompetence reeking from this letter.
    And I shudder with fear for this country as long as people like
    Milutinovic hold offices of utmost responsibility,'' concluded


    The 45th protest meeting held by the coalition Zajedno, which
    brought dozens of thousands of Belgraders out into the streets
    once again, was pervaded by reactions to Milan Milutinovic's
    letter to the OSCE.

    ``Milosevic has completely rejected the instructions given by
    Gonzalez's commission to acknowledge the Nov. 17 results, and his
    foreign minister has sent a letter full of lies and
    insinuations,'' said Vuk Draskovic, one of Zajedno leaders and
    head of the SPO. Draskovic spoke, among others, of the impression
    conveyed in the letter that the opposition has been invited to a
    dialogue and that a proper parliamentary panel has been set up to
    deal with the crisis. His message to the demonstrators was that
    there was no doubt left -- ``it was either them [the regime], or

    ``It is ridiculous that after 45 days [Milutinovic] says he has
    not understood where the problem lies. We know what we have to do
    -- we have to struggle until Serbia is lead by the right kind of
    people, capable people and patriots, and not those who write this
    sort of letter and shame Serbia throughout the world,'' said Vesna
    Pesic, also a leader of the opposition coalition Zajedno and head
    of the GSS.

    ``When an individual steals so much that it becomes a disorder .we
    call him a kleptomaniac. When we speak of such a disorder
    afflicting a whole group, we call it the SPS,'' said leader of the
    DS, Zoran Djindjic, stressing that things are serious, for Serbia
    ``has to deal not only with those who steal, but also with those
    who do not understand what the matter is.''

    After the meeting was over, the demonstrators went for another
    protest march up and down Knez Mihajlova Street, as the riot
    squads once again blocked them from leaving Republic Square in
    other directions. Prior to this, Vuk Draskovic hinted that Zajedno
    has found a way to peacefully get around the police blockade, so
    that Belgraders can expect to go on marches outside the pedestrian
    zone they have been reduced to. The next gathering is set for
    tomorrow 15:00. In the meantime, the coalition Zajedno has invited
    the residents of Belgrade to ``bang their drums'' tonight at 19:30
    in the continued action of silencing the Radio Television Serbia's
    prime time news show.


    Several thousand students gathered today after 18:30 in Knez
    Mihajlova Street, for an evening dedicated to Milan Milutinovic,
    whom the students have dubbed ``the minister of all trades.''  Due
    to the heavy presence of riot squads, they marched in Knez
    Mihajlova and other adjacent streets, making the greatest possible
    noise to silence the RTS prime time news show.


    Radio B92 has learned that the Nis Electoral Commission finished
    the counting of votes today. However, the results do not match
    either those from the November 17 election, nor the forged minutes
    themselves. Vice-president of the Democratic Party in Nis, Zoran
    Zivkovic, called on his fellow-citizens to go to Belgrade on
    Tuesday and ``show for whom Nis voted on November 17.''  ``When
    the thieves get down to counting, the number of votes gets
    smaller. It turned out that the elections in Nis were not held at
    all, and that the results are nill-nill'', concluded Zivkovic.

    After a protest rock-concert held at the School of Electrical
    Engineering, the students walked down the streets of Nis armed
    with flashlights, fire-crackers and candles.

    At the protest rally in Kragujevac, attended by more than 10,000
    people, one of the speakers said that ``people made it clear to
    Milosevic he has to leave.''

    Since the police have banned further protest walks in Pirot, the
    citizens today organized a so called ``prison walk,'' marching in
    circles with their hands clasped behind their heads.


    President of the Democratic Party, Zoran Djindjic, gave a
    statement for Reuters TV today in which he said that the danger of
    a civil war in Serbia or some larger outbreak of violence is now
    negligible because the authority of President Milosevic is
    considerably weakened, reports FoNet. ``The very foundations of
    Milosevic's rule are so deeply shaken, that he cannot start a
    civil war. He doesn't have enough people who would want, or who'd
    have any interest in waging a war for him. The only violence that
    could occur is between the police and the protesters, but even
    that cannot be large-scale. The danger is no longer as great as it
    was thought to be,'' said Djindjic and added that the protests
    will continue until the authorities recognize the opposition's
    electoral victory in all of Serbia's major cities. He also said
    that he doesn't expect any concessions from the authorities until
    this spring.


    In his statement today, president of the Democratic Party of
    Serbia, Vojislav Kostunica said that yesterday's announcement of
    the Serbian Orthodox Church on the political situation in Serbia
    is ``in accordance with the responsibility and the role which the
    Church has in both religious and national life.''


    The stern condemnation of Slobodan Milosevic's policy issued
    yesterday by the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church
    received much publicity in Russian media today, reports FoNet. The
    Russian state TV broadcast the text of the Church statement
    practically in its entirety, and also showed the pictures of
    Serbian special police forces beating the protesters in Belgrade.
    In its commentary, Russian TV pointed out that Serbian authorities
    are responsible not only for the forgery of the election results
    and stifling of the political and religious freedoms, but also for
    the attempt to start a conflicts between the citizens themselves.
    Leading Russian radio stations also said that it was expected the
    Church would take the side of the electorate, although no one had
    expected that its condemnation of the regime would be so harsh.


    Unofficially, the Clinton administration said today that the
    recognition of the opposition victory in Belgrade is encouraging,
    reports FoNet. Washington officials also said that the
    acknowledgment of the opposition's victory in Belgrade, Uzice,
    Kragujevac and Zrenjanin shows that the desired solution of the
    crisis is in sight, but also warned that the question of the
    opposition's victory in Nis and the another nine cities mentioned
    in the OSCE report is still up in the air. US officials greeted
    with approval the announcement of the Serbian Orthodox Church and
    expressed serious dissatisfaction with Milosevic's attempts to
    ignore the demands of the OSCE delegation. The Clinton
    administration also expressed its belief that, due to the positive
    events on the streets of Belgrade, Serbia may well be on its way
    to becoming a democratic country. It is heartening to see that the
    protesters in Serbian cities do respect and adhere to the norms of
    civil behavior, American officials noted.


    Vidosav Stevanovic, well-known Serbian man of letters and
    opposition supporter, has been appointed the new Manager of the
    Public Company ``Kragujevac,'' which encompasses Radio Kragujevac,
    the weekly ``Svetlost'' and Television Kragujevac, reports today's
    issue of the daily ``Blic.''  His appointment was made at the
    second session of the City Assembly of Kragujevac, which now
    includes a sizable opposition body. The session also adopted a set
    of measures abolishing the Nov. 28 decision of the former Steering
    Board of the City Assembly to affiliate TV Kragujevac with the
    Radio Television Serbia. Court actions have been launched against
    the former chairman of the city government and the vice-president
    of the managing board of Television Kragujevac for making the Nov.
    28 decision which was in itself illegal.


    The 36th session of the Serbian Congress in exile was held on
    Sunday, December 15, in the monastery of Nova Gracanica near
    Chicago, USA.  The Serbian Congress is an assembly of the
    organizations and institutions of Serbs living in exile.
    Participants from five continents took part in the session, whose
    official declaration gives full support to the Republic of Srpska
    (Serbian entity in Bosnia), and to those who are fighting for
    democracy and the rule of law in Serbia.


    About 15,000 citizens of the city of Kraljevo spent New Year's Eve
    in the center of their city, reports today's issue of the
    newspaper ``Dnevni Telegraf.''  Around 2 PM, an unidentified man
    appeared, standing on the monument that dominates the main city
    square; shouting that he is a member of the Socialist Party of
    Serbia, and brandishing his membership card, the man claimed to
    have a bomb on him. The opposition's security people knocked him
    down to the ground and, on searching him, discovered a handheld
    bomb in his pocket. The man's identity is still unknown.


    Here follows the complete news item by the news agency Tanjug on
    yesterday's protest rally in Belgrade: ``Zajedno supporters
    gathered again yesterday in Republic Square in Belgrade. They were
    addressed by their leaders Zoran Djindjic, Vesna Pesic and Vuk
    Draskovic, who reiterated their series of demands, already
    familiar to all.''


    Tonight, during the broadcasting of the RTS prime time news show,
    noise resounded in many of Belgrade's neighborhoods even more
    raucously than yesterday. Many listeners joined Radio B92's the
    phone-in program, reporting on the levels of noise in their
    neighborhoods. A listener's comment went: ``My neighborhood is
    rattling, but it can never beat Milutinovic!''

    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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