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Protests in Serbia Archive
Odraz B92 Daily News Service

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    Odraz B92 vesti (by 11 PM), January 6, 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.



    Huge numbers of Belgraders, joined this time by the students of
    the UofB, flooded the square in front of the St. Sava Church,
    where Patriarch Pavle lit the traditional Yule log just after
    22:00, after he had saluted the crowds and wished them a merry
    Christmas. The ceremony was over by 23:00.


    Zajedno leaders called tonight on Serbian people to practise non-
    violent ``civil self-defense'' against the authorities' acts of
    aggression. Addressing dozens of thousands of Belgraders gathered
    in Republic Square, leader of the DS, Zoran Djindjic said that
    President Milosevic's rise to power began with a promise that
    nobody can be allowed to attack and gang up on the people of this
    country. These days, it is Milosevic himself who is issuing orders
    commanding the police to turn against the citizens of Serbia.
    ``With this, our right to civil self-defense has been activated,''
    said Djindjic, stressing that Zajedno has succeeded with the help
    of video-recordings to identify the members of the Serbian
    Ministry of Interior responsible for the action in which
    plainclothes police attacked citizens in downtown Belgrade on
    December 27. ``We have prepared a series of legal suits, because
    in this country nobody can beat on people,'' explained Djindjic.

    He announced that Zajedno will begin handing out a leaflet with
    telephone numbers of various state institutions, including
    Television Serbia, Tanjug, and the state daily Politika. ``Keep
    their phones ringing from dusk till dawn. When they work, they do
    damage to this country. When they do not work, the damage is
    less,'' he said. After the observation by leader of GSS, Vesna
    Pesic, that the Belgrade authorities ``are full of hatred and care
    only for themselves rather than the people,'' leader of the SPO,
    Vuk Draskovic said that on the eve of this Christmas, Serbia is
    sharply divided into the camps of ``love and hate, spirit and
    brute force, the robbed and the robbers, the battered and those
    who have battered them.''  ``I wish that ignorance, violence,
    thieving -- the past -- be removed so that the Serbia of tomorrow
    can build a life in accordance with the spirit of a Christian
    community. I wish I could send Christmas greetings to Milosevic,
    but I'm afraid this would be as if I'd wish night to became day,''
    said Draskovic, adding that he wishes a ``happy exile to the real
    head of this state, Mira Markovic.'' ``She has recently said that,
    if we win, we who allegedly want Europe to invade Serbia, Serbia
    would for her and her family become a cursed land, and they would
    leave immediately for Beijing to revel there in the blessings of
    communism. As a Christian, from the very depth of my heart, I pray
    that that comes true for them this year,'' said Draskovic. His
    message to the Montenegrins was to ``pull out from the Federal
    Parliament and government, from the Supreme Headquarters [of the
    Yugoslav army], and join together with Zajedno in the drive to get
    rid of this evil and see them off to China.''  Zajedno announced a
    fresh protest gathering for tomorrow, Orthodox Christmas, at 6
    p.m., reports FoNet.


    In an interview he gave to the Austrian newsagency APA last
    weekend, Deputy Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic stressed that
    Belgrade's reply to the OSCE demands was perfectly clear. He said
    that, after its additional explanations, the OSCE position is now
    much clearer and that the Serbian and Yugoslav state institutions
    will now deal with these issues democratically and with full
    respect for the will of the people. Referring to recent US
    criticisms regarding official Serbia's rejection of the OSCE
    recommendations, Jovanovic underlined that everything in
    Yugoslavia ``has gone according to the law.''  Asked when the
    protests on the streets of Belgrade and other cities in Serbia
    will come to an end, he said that this is not up to the government
    but up to those who started them. He added that democracy cannot
    be established in the streets but only by the institutions of the
    relevant political system.

    Radio B92 has learned from Melissa Fleming, OSCE spokeswoman, that
    the permanent council of the Organization for Security and
    Cooperation in Europe will give Minister Milutinovic's letter a
    thoroughgoing examination on January 16.


    There was an explosion tonight in the courtyard separating the two
    buildings housing the offices of Yugoslav United Left (JUL). It is
    believed that an explosive device was thrown into the courtyard,
    reports Radio B92's reporter on the scene. There was some visible
    damage to the buildings' facades and window-panes, but so far
    there appear to be no casualties. The city police have said they
    will issue a statement regarding this incident some time later.


    Deans of eight schools of the University of Belgrade sent a joint
    reply to the Serbian Ministry of Education saying that the cause
    behind the suspension of lectures at the University's Schools is
    of ``outside character,'' and expressing their willingness to
    organize lectures ``the moment these outside causes are removed.''

    ``The reason our students are absenting themselves form university
    lectures lies outside the university itself. The Student Protest
    arose as a nonpartisan movement of students who are demanding that
    the fundamental civil rights of all citizens be respected, the
    rights that were violated by the nullification of the November 17
    electoral results,'' the deans wrote. ``The very moment this
    outside cause is eliminated and the students decide to go back to
    their classes, we will be happy to organize the lectures.''  The
    joint statement, representing a reply to the notice sent by the
    Ministry of Education on December 27, 1996 together with its
    ``Report On Measures for Continuation of Lectures,'' was signed by
    the deans of the School of Architecture, the School of Civil
    Engineering, the School of Electrical Engineering, the Schools of
    Mathematics, Technology and Metallurgy, the School of Physical
    Chemistry, the School of Philosophy and the School of Chemistry,
    reports FoNet.


    Deans of 9 schools of the University of Belgrade sent a letter
    today to Serbian President Milosevic, chairman of the Serbian
    Parliament Dragan Tomic and Prime Minister Mirko Marjanovic. The
    letter reads: ``The authorities of the Republic of Serbia should
    accept the fundamental demand by the Student Protest '96 which now
    boils down to the acknowledgment of the November 17 local
    electoral results, as interpreted by the Organization for Security
    and Cooperation in Europe.''  The deans go on to say that ``the
    misunderstandings over the elections have done considerable
    political, economic and moral damage to Serbia, Yugoslavia and the
    Serbian nation as a whole'' and stress: ``The current discussions
    concerning the question of who is responsible for the present
    situation, what the biases of the electoral system are, what
    direction the behavior of the information media and the future of
    both our nation and the state ought to be from now on should be
    shifted to the Serbian Parliament and all other institutions of
    the system. Participation in these discussions should not be open
    only to political parties and governing bodies, but also to other
    institutions and to individual citizens themselves. Beyond that,
    the media should become open to the struggle of different opinions
    and conceptions,'' the letter said. ``Your Excellencies, the
    University of Belgrade Student Protest has been going on for 45
    days. It is not true that it is a matter of a small number of
    students or only a part of them, for the majority of students are
    participating in the protests. They have received support from a
    majority of lecturers of the UofB, as well as students and
    lecturers in almost all university schools in Serbia and
    Montenegro,'' points our the deans' letter. The letter was signed
    by the deans of 9 schools of the University of Belgrade: the
    Schools of Architecture, Civil Engineering, Electrical
    Engineering, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Transportation,
    Technology and Metallurgy, the School of Philosophy and the School
    of Chemistry, reports FoNet.


    The news that the Chief of Staff at the Supreme Headquarters of
    the Yugoslav Army, colonel general Momcilo Perisic received a
    student delegation today had a prominent place in the news shows
    in the US, reports for FoNet Slobodan Pavlovic. A report by the US
    National Public Radio pointed out that in March 1991 Milosevic
    sent tanks on students instead of negotiating with them, and now
    the top military brass are holding talks with the demonstrators
    and thus indirectly giving them support. Are we going to see the
    army and the opposition joining forces against the dictator in
    Belgrade, NPR asked, reporting news agencies' information that
    general Perisic promised to the students the army would abide by
    its constitutional commitment to stay clear of politics. The US
    media took this promise as an announcement that the events of
    March 1991 will not be repeated on the streets of Belgrade. The
    report concluded that the statement the Yugoslav Army issued after
    the talks its commander had with the students' delegation did not
    formally support the demands of the democratic opposition, but
    that it publicly criticized the annulment of the opposition's
    electoral victories by calling on the authorities to observe
    internationally recognized democratic principles in solving this
    crisis. The students, on their part, say that they have received
    guarantees from the Chief of Staff of the army's Supreme
    Headquarters that the army will not prevent their pro-democracy
    protest in Serbia. In its report today, AP also notes that the
    army has remained neutral regarding the protests, but that there
    have lately been hints of its turning against Milosevic, who used
    it to crush the March 1991 demonstrations.


    Europe's initial estimate of the statement issued by the Yugoslav
    Army Chief of Staff after his talks today with a delegation from
    the Student Protest 96/97 is that the Yugoslav army has now given
    indirect support to the democratic movement, Mirko Klarin reports
    for FoNet. Although he did not directly side with the opposition,
    the commanding officer of the Yugoslav military forces has
    effectively joined its criticisms of the regime, especially
    concerning its nullification of local electoral results, and
    endorsed its demands for the respect of internationally recognized
    democratic principles, assess European reporters and analysts.

    Perisic's guarantees that the army will not intervene against the
    demonstrators and let itself be misused as in March 1991 are
    viewed as a serious blow to Milosevic's ability to maintain his
    stranglehold on power in FR Yugoslavia. European analysts think
    Milosevic should not take this message lightly. However, they
    point out that the army is not crucial to the outcome of the
    developments in Belgrade. They estimate that Milosevic, even
    without the army, has at his disposal more than enough men and
    equipment -- police forces and weapons -- to forcefully crush the
    present democratic movement if he decides to do so.


    Although it is reported that Serbian President Milosevic has sent
    Christmas greetings to Serbian Patriarch His Holiness Pavle, the
    Belgrade media have not yet published the contents of his letter.


    ``We wish everyone happy holidays spent in joy with their beloved
    ones, and that unity and faith in their country mark the year to
    come,'' said the letter signed by JUL spokesman, Aleksandar Vulin.


    On the black market exchange in Podgorica, capital of Montenegro,
    the Deutsche Mark could be bought for 4.80 dinars and sold for
    4.20 today.

    Several thousand residents of Leskovac, all of them Zajedno
    sympathizers, defied the police ban tonight and went for a march
    through the city's downtown core.

    Tonight saw perhaps the most vigorous action so far in the
    campaign to symbolically silence the RTS prime time news show. In
    fact, tonight's news show was observed to have been conspicuously
    shorter than usual. Apart from Belgrade, deafening noise was also
    raised by the residents of Novi Sad.


    On her second day in Belgrade, Bibi Anderson, one of Sweden's most
    respected theater and film actresses and member of the Swedish
    Human Rights Watch, held a press conference in Belgrade at which
    she explained that the main reason for her visit here was quite
    simple: she knew that something of utmost importance was going on
    here, the opening up of an entire society. Asked whether she knew
    that a ``driving protest'' would be cruising the city later that
    afternoon, Anderson replied enthusiastically: ``Of course, I will
    be in one of those cars.''  As for her impressions of the ``Noise
    Is All the Rage'' protest action and the previous day's rally,
    Bibi Anderson replied that Belgrade has created an astounding
    ``poetics of rebellion.''

    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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