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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), February 9, 1997

    E-mail: odrazb92@b92.opennet.org, beograd@siicom.com
    WWW:    http://www.siicom.com/odrazb/, http://www.opennet.org/b92/
    All texts are Copyright 1997 Radio B92. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

    NEWS BY 11 PM


    On Saturday Greek weekly 'Vima' published an interview they claim
    was given by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic last week. BETA
    newsagency published the following excerpts from that interview on

    President Milosevic stated that ``the war in Bosnia could have
    been avoided'' had it not been for foreign interference. He
    explained that the war ``could have been avoided if seccessionist
    tendencies and nationalism had not been encouraged to the point of
    no return.''

    ``In a word, I am against war. There will be no war where I
    rule,'' Mr. Milosevic stressed, adding that ``a nation must only
    fight to defend its country from foreign occupation'' and that
    ``everything must be done'' to avert civil war.

    Asked what he thought the Bosnian Serbs felt about his signing of
    the Dayton accords he answered that, for him, it was essential
    that the accords brought peace to all those involved in the
    Bosnian war and that the Serb people in Bosnia had succeeded in
    creating the Republic of Srpska.

    When the interviewer repeated the question, Mr. Milosevic admitted
    that the Bosnian Serbs might not share his opinion, but that this
    was only logical, considering how fresh the memories of war and
    destruction were.

    Asked whether he felt ``defeated'' after the war, as he had
    started that war with territorial ambitions and had ended it
    ``with less territorry than before and thousands of casualties,''
    Mr. Milosevic answered that the losers of the war were ``the dead,
    wounded and misfortunate,'' and that the victor was ``peace and a
    chance to live in peace.''

    He said that the problems facing Yugoslavia today were worse than
    before the war as the country had suffered greater difficulties
    than any other East European country (i.e. the break up of the
    country, international sanctions, systemic change). Mr. Milosevic
    added that the country had also been drained by ``years spent
    giving substantial material aid to Serbs outside Serbia during the
    war, and the cost of caring for almost one million refugees.''

    Mr. Milosevic added that in spite of the economic problems of the
    past few years ``Yugoslavia still has the highest level of
    productivity and the lowest unemployment rate today'' and ``it is
    in better economic and social shape than most other Eastern
    European countries.''

    Mr. Milosevic attributed the current economic situation to ``the
    difficult years between 1991 and 1996.'' However, Mr. Milosevic
    concluded that the anti-government demonstrations in Serbia were
    not related to any of these problems, but only with ``the local


    On Sunday the New York Times reported that the surest indication
    that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic was losing his grip on
    power was the decision of television stations in Serbia to show
    footage of recent police intervention in Belgrade, BETA reported
    on Sunday.

    The NYT said that control of the media has always been an
    important guarantee of President Milosevic's grip on power and now
    even the media were slipping out of his hands. While state-
    controlled 'Politika' and Radio Television Serbia were still doing
    their best to ignore the protests and demonise the demonstrators
    as ``terrorists'' and ``fascists,'' many local television and
    radio stations, now in opposition-controlled towns, were beginning
    to break through the boundaries of pro-government reporting.

    The NYT pointed to the 'defection' of BK Television last week as
    the definitive example. BK allegedly ditched its pro-government
    editorial policy when BK owner, Bogoljub Karic, decided that his
    former close friend President Milosevic, was a ``lost case.''

    In turn, according to Mr. Karic's associates, President Milosevic
    ordered state companies to withdraw tens of millions of US dollars
    from the Karic Bank.


    Opposition leaders expressed serious doubt that Serbian President
    Slobodan Milosevic would restore opposition wins without further
    manipulation, FoNet reported on Sunday.

    Opposition leader Vuk Draskovic told the crowd in Republic Square
    that the appointment of Radmila Milentijevic as new Serbian
    Minister of Information would be cause great shame and offence to
    the Serbian people. Mr. Draskovic explained that Ms. Milentijevic
    bore great responsibilty for propagating war and ethnic cleansing
    in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    Opposition leader Zoran Djindjic was also sceptical of the Serbian
    President's intent to recognise the opposition wins and stressed
    that if Mr. Milosevic were serious about democracy he would speak
    to his people directly about the electoral theft.

    Mr. Djindjic warned that if Studio B [a formally private radio
    television station, now under state control] did not become free
    and independent then thousands Zajedno supporters would stage new


    On Sunday, Belgrade students celebrated the 80th day of their
    protest at the November election theft, BETA reported. ``80 days
    at the beginning of this century were enough for a voyage around
    the world, but here it seems that not even 80 days of protest are
    enough for justice to be done,'' Dusan Popovic, a member of the
    Managing Board of the Student Protest 96/97, told students in
    front of the School of Philosophy.

    Lecturers from the University of Belgrade are to sign a petition
    on Monday at noon demanding the replacement of the University


    Zajedno leader Vuk Draskovic told BK Television in an interview on
    Saturday that if opposition wins in the local elections were
    restored, Zajedno would make public their proposal for the Mayor
    of Belgrade, FoNet reported on Sunday.

    Mr. Draskovic said the Zajedno coalition had agreed how it would
    run in the forthcoming presidential and republican elections. But
    he also stated that the coalition would not run in these elections
    unless there were free media and a new electoral law was adopted,
    together with a law on the funding of political parties.


    The Organization of the Independent Trade Union of the Employees
    of the University of Belgrade called on all university staff on
    Sunday to organize steering boards in their respective schools and
    institutes, draft their demands and start a strike, FoNet

    The preliminary demands stated in the Organization's statement on
    Sunday were educational reforms, payment of overdue wages and
    maintanence costs and a wage increase according to the present
    costs of living.


    Dragan Markovic, a Socialist deputy in Sabac Municipal Assembly,
    ran his car into marching demonstrators in Sabac on Sunday. After
    trying to break up the Zajedno rally with his car, Mr. Markovic
    pulled out a gun and threatened to use it against the


    Muslim leaders in Mostar claimed on Sunday that a series of 12
    explosions over the past week were the act of extremists who
    wished to divide the city, AFP reported.

    After those explosions, SFOR announced on Saturday that additional
    Spanish troops would patrol the town to prevent further violence.

    Humanitarian workers claim that the situation in the town grew
    tense after a wave of illegal expulsions of Muslims from the Croat
    parts of the town.

    Croatian leader Mijo Brajkovic said that events in Mostar
    reflected existing tensions in the fragile Muslim-Croat Federation
    and that the violence must be stopped. He said that if the
    representatives of the international community failed to do this,
    the citizens of Mostar would do it themselves.

    Mostar Mayor Ivan Prskalo issued a warning on Sunday on the
    Croatian Radio of Herzeg Bosna. Mr. Prskalo said that ``if
    representatives of the international community failed to end the
    Muslim violence in Mostar, those Croats who wish to live in this
    town would do it themselves,'' SRNA newsagancy (Republic of
    Srpska) reported.

    Prepared by: Marija Milosavljevic
    Edited by: Julia Glyn-Pickett

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    E-mail: odrazb92@b92.opennet.org, beograd@siicom.com
    WWW:    http://www.siicom.com/odrazb/, http://www.opennet.org/b92/

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