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Protests in Serbia Archive
Odraz B92 Daily News Service

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    Odraz B92 vesti (by 8 PM), January 4, 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 8 PM


    Leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement, Vuk Draskovic today called
    on the supporters of the coalition Zajedno to come to the protest
    march tomorrow in their cars or any other vehicles, i.e. to stage
    a ``protest drive'' through downtown Belgrade.

    ``Coming from all parts of Belgrade, after 2 p.m., take your cars
    and go to the city center. If you don't have a car, use tractors,
    bulldozers, buses, bicycles,'' said Draskovic at the protest rally
    held today in Belgrade and attended by dozens of thousands of
    citizens. ``Tomorrow we will fulfill the wish expressed by the
    leader of Serbia. He has brought tens of thousands of policemen to
    Belgrade in order to prevent us from walking, because he cares for
    our health and he does not want any obstruction of the traffic...
    We want to show that we are for dialogue.'' Draskovic said that in
    case of tire punctures, engine breakdowns, and other similar
    predicaments, drivers can count on the help of more than 20,000
    policemen who are in the streets of Belgrade. ``As soon as your
    car stalls, call the police, because their duty is to keep the
    traffic moving...  If your tire goes, or you can't find the keys,
    or you run out of gas, the policeman's duty is to help you. We
    must give them a chance to direct the traffic: they have not come
    here just to sit in their buses,'' said Draskovic and warned
    Belgraders ``to drive slowly and carefully, while in city center''
    because the road conditions are rather hazardous these days. Those
    who will not be able to find a vehicle are invited to go walking
    on the city's sidewalks. Coalition Zajedno will celebrate Orthodox
    Christmas on Tuesday, January 7, on the Republic Square in
    downtown Belgrade, with a traditional Yule bonfire and a
    distribution of presents to the children of Belgrade.

    Head of the Civil Alliance of Serbia, Vesna Pesic was not present
    at today's rally because she is visiting the city of Valjevo to
    attend the protest rally there.

    Leader of the Democratic Party, Zoran Djindjic, pointed out that
    the protests against the annulment of the opposition's electoral
    victory have lasted for 46 days now and added: ``There is no
    record in the Guinness' Book that is as beautiful and cheering as
    ours... but we'll get [where it counts] only if we succeed...  So,
    no retreat. To the final victory.''

    After the rally, the protesters went for a march up and down
    Belgrade's Knez Mihajlova Street, both a pedestrian zone and one
    of the city's main streets. Several hundred policemen with
    helmets, shields and bulletproof waists were on stand-by in
    surrounding streets.


    Leader of the Democratic Party, Zoran Djindjic gave an interview
    to the German Hesse Radio in which he stated that the coalition
    Zajedno will boycott the presidential elections next year if
    President Milosevic does not recognize the opposition's victory in
    November 17 municipal elections, reports Reuters. Djindjic
    emphasized that yesterday's partial recognition of real electoral
    results is not enough and that the opposition has proof of its
    victory in 14 cities. The opposition is ready to talk to
    Milosevic, but only if the real election results are recognized
    and the censorship of the media stops. Otherwise, Zajedno will not
    only boycott the presidential elections but it will also withdraw
    their members of parliament.


    Coalition Zajedno today announced that ``the letter of Milosevic's
    Foreign Minister Milutinovic contains not only a clear rejection
    of the OSCE decisions, but also an unprecedented act of insolence
    where Milutinovic asks the OSCE to deliver to him the data on the
    municipal elections in Serbia. Minister Milutinovic offers blatant
    lies -- perhaps he is poorly-informed -- but he conceals the fact
    that all the data are in the possession of the Electoral
    Commissions, themselves state organs. We would like to inform the
    Minister that not only do the Electoral Commissions possess all
    the minutes from November 17, being legally bound to preserve them
    in their archives, but the coalition Zajedno has them, as do all
    the other political parties which took part in the elections,
    including the Minister's SPS.  By the will of the people, Zajedno
    won in Belgrade, Nis, Novi Sad, Kragujevac and other large cities.
    This fact has produced the Minister's amnesia,'' concluded the
    coalition Zajedno in their official statement today.


    American Secretary of State Warren Christopher yesterday sent a
    message to Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in which he
    formulated the US position and its further plans regarding the
    post-electoral crisis in Serbia. Washington has unofficially
    confirmed that the message was composed after Christopher's
    consultation with Madelaine Albright, who is shortly to replace
    him as Secretary Of State. Washington has not yet officially
    reacted to Milosevic's dismissal of the warnings given my the
    international community. However, a State Department spokesman
    said yesterday that if Milosevic continues his anti-democratic
    policy after Christopher's message, America and its allies will
    decisively push Serbia into even deeper isolation than it has
    experienced to date.


    In the opinion of the majority of Russian media, Srbian opposition
    forces have scored their first victory since the start of their
    anti-government protests 5 weeks ago. The state media also say
    that Milutinovic's letter to the OSCE is an attempt by the Serbian
    authorities to evade the demands made by the international
    community and offer small concession instead of a full
    implementation of Felipe Gonzalez's recommendations. Renewed
    international pressure on the regime in Belgrade may confidently
    be expected in the next few days and weeks. NTV television
    suggested that ``it would have been better if the letter had not
    been written at all because it has certainly backfired. The only
    thing that Belgrade has achieved is that it has disgraced itself
    once again.''


    Today's issue of Czech daily Pravo said that ``Milosevic has once
    again proved, by his partial recognition of the opposition
    victory, that he is a master of delay tactics. He hasn't got much
    space to maneuver left, however. The possible introduction of new
    sanctions would not benefit his currently fragile position in
    Serbia, especially since Montenegrin authorities who are not so
    loyal to him any more.''


    Slavisa Lekic, a veteran Belgrade journalist, has just issued a
    collection of the most interesting slogans from the protests in
    Serbia. Excerpts:

    ``I watch News on TV, and I've also taken to drugs.''

    ``Beware of the dog: he watches RTS every day.''

    ``Smile Serbia, You're on Candid Camera!''

    ``Shame on you, RTS!  Signed, Goebels.''

    ``WE are not mushrooms. Don't keep us in the dark and feed us

    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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