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Protests in Serbia Archive
Odraz B92 Daily News Service

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    Odraz B92 vesti (by 10 PM), January 9, 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 10 PM


    Today's protest rally of the coalition Zajedno in Belgrade was
    attended by several tens of thousands of citizens as well as by a
    great number of policemen deployed in the streets around the
    Republic Square, where the rally was held.

    Head of the Democratic Party, Zoran Djindjic, said that Zajedno
    are not satisfied with Government's confirmation of 37 (majority)
    mandates won on the local elections in Nis by the coalition. He
    said that Zajedno won four more mandates and they must be returned
    by January 14.

    Head of the Civil Alliance of Serbia, Vesna Pesic, called on the
    citizens to drive down the streets of Belgrade at a speed by which
    Serbian institutions normally work -- 15 miles per hour. The
    residents of Belgrade may be considered ``professional
    demonstrators,'' Vesna Pesic quipped, since the street protests
    have now gone on for over a month and a half.

    Head of the Serbian Renewal Movement, Vuk Draskovic, said: ``We
    don't have a mandate to bargain with the election results. We will
    not give up Belgrade, we will not give up any city where we won.''
    Draskovic also said that he has one hundred per cent reliable
    information that Mira Markovic, Slobodan Milosevic's wife, has
    declared that she wants the street protests over by January 12 and
    that she wants ``Vuk's head.''  FoNet reports that Vuk Draskovic
    then went on to announce that he has already gave instructions to,
    as he said, ``our people in the army and in the police to take
    appropriate action if Mira Markovic succeeds in her intentions. I
    am telling her publicly that Slobodan Milosevic, Mirjana [Mira]
    Markovic, Nikola Sainovic, Mirko Marjanovic, Zoran Sokolovic will
    not have the pleasure of attending my funeral. The dark will
    swallow them up before that,'' said Draskovic.


    At the beginning of today's student protest, the Steering Board of
    Protest 96/97 announced that the first on the list of student
    demands has been corrected: the students are now demanding full
    recognition of the election results from November 17, based on the
    original electoral minutes and the Report of the OSCE delegation.
    Several tens of thousands of UofB students protested today and
    tried to stage for a protest walks well. As in the past several
    days, they were stopped by police cordons. Students then staged
    their previously announced stand in front of the police line.
    Cedomir Jovanovic, member of the Protest 96/97 Steering Board,
    explained: ``We are divided into three groups: red, blue and
    white, with another three sub-groups within each. Each group will
    stand in front of a police line for an hour, and then we'll try to
    go for a walk. If the police do not move, we'll do another shift
    of a protest-stand, and so on, until the police have moved from
    the streets.'' During the afternoon, one of the police cordons
    backed away, cheered by the students, but the police line was
    formed again a few hours later. The students are holding their
    standing protests right now, at 10 p.m. local Belgrade time.


    One of the vice-presidents of the Serbian Renewal Movement,
    Zvonimir Budisa, announced today that the protests in Nis will
    continue until the true election results are confirmed by the
    government. Serbian authorities yesterday officially recognized
    coalition Zajedno's victory of in Nis, where according to the
    Serbian Ministry of Justice, Zajedno won 37 mandates. The
    Coalition Zajedno claims that they won 41 mandates, i.e. that four
    of their mandates have again been stolen.

    Students of the UofN performed a makeshift bit of street theater
    on the streets of Nis. They symbolically ``arrested'' the
    Electoral Commission, played by students dressed in prison
    clothes. After the performance, they marched down the streets of
    downtown Nis. The Nis Electoral Commission has not reached a
    decision on whether it will accept yesterday's decision by the
    Ministry of Justice or stick to its own previous ruling.


    President of the Serbian Radical Party, Vojislav Seselj, today
    condemned Slobodan Milosevic, Interior Minister Sokolovic, and
    General Momcilo Perisic, for receiving ``supposed student
    representatives,'' while not having the courage to talk to the
    leaders of Zajedno -- Vuk Draskovic and Zoran Djindjic.
    ``Draskovic and Djindjic are leading the citizens' protest. No
    matter how much we may condemn that, you can't deny the fact that
    they are the rightful leaders of a part of our people. Dialogue
    should have been opened with them, not with the students. The
    students' protest is not serious. When the students come up with
    [genuinely] political demands, I expect them to establish their
    own political party. Milosevic's regime thinks that it can do the
    same thing Tito did in 1968 -- support students, and later, when
    the tensions relax, chase them away.''  Seselj pointed out that
    Montenegrin authorities are threatening to obstruct the Federal
    State. According to Seselj, ``Americans are pulling all the
    strings.''  He also said that he expects dismal future for the
    Serbian economy and that ``no one can predict the outcome of this

    [The omission of Vesna Pesic, as one of the three leaders of
    Zajedno, should be attributed to Vojislav Seselj himself.]


    The Information Service of the coalition Zajedno announced today
    that members of the special forces of Serbian police who yesterday
    beat up on protesters in the center of Belgrade, will be taken to
    court. The incident was described as ``another mindless attempt of
    the regime to destroy the democratic movement and stifle the
    protests that have gone on for [a couple of] months now.''  The
    Zajedno statement pointed out that the opposition coalition has
    videos of Belgraders being beaten up by the police and that the
    names of the individual policemen who took part in these attacks
    are known.


    Yugoslav United Left (JUL) today stated that it is suing the
    Belgrade daily Dnevni Telegraf for slander. Today's issue of
    Dnevni Telegraf claimed that the bomb-attack on the JUL
    headquarters in Belgrade was conceived by a high ranking JUL
    member, Zoran Todorovic, in order to ``demonstrate'' the allegedly
    terrorist nature of the coalition Zajedno.


    In her letter today, Kati Marton, Chair of the Committee to
    Protect Journalists, and wife of former American peace mediator
    Richard Holbrooke, demanded from Serbian President Slobodan
    Milosevic to do everything in his power to enable the independent
    Radio Boom 93 in the city of Pozarevac to resume broadcasting.
    Radio Boom 93 went off the air on December 3, 1996. Radio Boom 93
    was silenced at the same time as Belgrade's independent radio
    station B92 was taken off the air, too. Kati Marton pointed out
    that B92 resumed broadcasting after 52 hours and that Radio Boom
    93 is still shut down. ``It is of the utmost importance that the
    troubles of Radio Boom 93 not be ignored,'' stated Katie Marton in
    her letter to Milosevic. She also reminded the Serbian President
    that during their last meeting in Belgrade he had signed in her
    presence a text stating that the freedom of the media in FR
    Yugoslavia must be guaranteed [by the state].


    France is sending its special emissary to Belgrade to inform the
    Serbian authorities about France's official position and its
    conviction that the international recommendations for the
    acknowledgment of the opposition's victory must be respected,
    reports AFP.  The French emissary will hold separate meeting with
    both members of the Serbian government and the leaders of the
    coalition Zajedno.


    The newly constituted managing board of the local TV station in
    the city of Kragujevac, under the chairmanship of the renowned
    Serbian writer Vidosav Stefanovic, has decided to sue the Serbian
    Minister of Culture, Nada Popovic-Perisic and the RTS (state TV)
    General Manager, Dragoljub Milanovic, for ``the theft of the

    ``The building of the Kragujevac TV is closed to us. It is being
    monitored by a special police unit kept in the neighborhood.
    Television's employees have been forced to sign loyalty oaths to
    the thieves from Belgrade,'' emphasized Stefanovic. Kragujevac is
    one of the larger cities in central Serbia where the coalition
    Zajedno won in the local elections on November 17.


    Once again, deafening noise, a symbolic act Belgraders have been
    performing for several days now to drown out state propaganda,
    could be heard tonight in all parts of Belgrade during the state-
    run RTS's main television news bulletin at 7:30 p.m. In the
    interests of informing the public of what the state media are
    offering as facts to their audiences in Serbia, Radio B92 has
    decided to quote the full text of the commentary on the street
    protests in Belgrade broadcast in the notorious RTS news bulletin
    at 7:30 tonight. Here is the text of the RTS commentary on the
    protests in Serbia:

    ``With the publication of the well kept secret on the pages of
    Nedeljni Telegraf, namely, that the demonstrations in Belgrade and
    Serbia were planned under the code name 'Brainstorm,' a very
    important void has been filled, important for the comprehension of
    the events on the streets in our country. Analyses, made in some
    foreign centers, show that certain individuals who had prepared
    and planned the 'Desert Storm' in Iraq and the 'Storm' attack of
    the Croatian Army on Krajina, also participated in devising the
    'Brainstorm.'  The strategy of the operation 'Brainstorm,' our
    sources report, is very different from that used in the other
    'storm' operations. While in the previous 'storms' actual military
    action was a priority, in this one it is the last tool. The actors
    are also significantly different: in the earlier actions, the
    armed forces of two or more countries confronted the other side
    militarily, but in 'Brainstorm' the conflict is to be created
    within a single country itself, among its citizens. The emphasis
    is on inflicting mental and psychological violence on the citizens
    and the institutions of the system. These steps should create an
    atmosphere of deep division in the society, an atmosphere where
    the citizens would confront one another in violent clashes.
    According to this strategy, it is necessary to provoke the police
    forces so that the responsibility can be laid on them. After that,
    certain countries would descend on the scene But, the course of
    events so far has showed that the citizens of Serbia, regardless
    of their political views, do not want violence and bloodshed. Even
    less do they want to participate in it. According to our data,
    recourse to violence could by supported by only 0.04% citizens.
    These analyses show that the current police are highly
    professional, decisive in acting only in accordance with the
    Constitution and the law, and determined not to be gullible and
    responsive to provocations. The creators of this action have now
    focused on stopping the demonstrations as their main task, since
    the leaders of the coalition Zajedno can't fulfill their assigned
    mission. The question is: how to accomplish the mission without
    putting the leaders of Zajedno in the position of having to
    explain to the citizens why they had deceived them for so long,
    keeping them in the streets for so long. The thing that the
    organizers of the action Brainstorm and the leaders of Zajedno
    want is probably for the authorities to ban the demonstrations.
    That's why, these days, they are doing everything they can in
    order to create an incident which could motivate such a decision
    by the authorities.

    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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