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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 11, 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 11 PM


    High diplomatic representatives of Contact Group member states
    expressed in Brussels today staunch support for the conclusions
    and recommendations of the OSCE fact-finding mission and strongly
    urged Belgrade to implement them fully and immediately, reports
    for FoNet Mirko Klarin.

    However, the international community will not discuss the re-
    imposition of sanctions against FR Yugoslavia for the time being.
    According to John Kornblum, US assistant secretary of state for
    European affairs, ``the consensus has not reached this point
    yet;'' similarly, German representative Inger believes that
    ``sanctions would not solve the present crisis.''  Representatives
    of the US, Germany, France and Great Britain, joined today by
    those of Italy and the Netherlands, agreed unanimously that the
    situation in Serbia is critically dangerous. They concurred on the
    utmost necessity that violence be avoided and peaceful
    democratization be strongly encouraged. Dutch representative Joris
    Fos said that apart from the reinstatement of the opposition
    victory in 14 cities, including Belgrade, Gonzalez's
    recommendations urge democratic reforms, most of all for the
    greater freedom of the press. The British representative Perry
    said the implementation of the OSCE recommendations was ``a chance
    for Serbia,'' adding that ``it was up to the authorities to use


    Today's Zajedno protest at Terazije Square was attended by dozens
    of thousands of their supporters as well as a very large
    contingent of police forces. One of Zajedno leaders and head of
    the SPO, Vuk Draskovic responded to the rumors of a possible
    formation of a coalition government thus: ``Milosevic is allegedly
    inviting us to enter into a new government. Zajedno's reply is
    this: 'We know why we are here.'''  He stressed that the need to
    bring to justice those who have ordered or committed murders and
    other crimes against citizens during these protests is one of the
    motives for the protests to continue. Draskovic said the minister
    of the police and chairman of the Serbian Parliament are two among
    those who need to answer for their actions in the past few months.
    The next demand which must be fulfilled, according to Draskovic,
    is the deblocking of the state media, a pre-condition for any
    dialogue and one sure to result in Milosevic's defeat in the next
    presidential elections. Draskovic said Milosevic must accept
    Zajedno's demands or ``else next week he will need 900,000
    policemen to curb our rebellion.''

    Vesna Pesic, one of Zajedno leaders and head of the GSS pointed
    out: ``If they [the authorities] recognize our electoral victory,
    we cannot thank them. They had robbed us and insulted us in the
    first place.''  She observed that Miloseivic has now become a
    problem for the entire world community.

    Addressing the thousands of riot squad police members, leader of
    the DS, Zoran Djindjic said: ``Our goal is not to block the
    traffic, we want to demonstrate that we do not accept crime and
    theft, and we are convinced this is your aim, too.''  He
    underlined that the aim of the daily protests is not only the
    reinstatement of the November 17 electoral results but also the
    reforms necessary to prevent electoral theft in the country for
    good. ``The thief must return what he has stolen, and those who
    hinder democratic reforms must go,'' said Djindjic and stressed
    that these two points cannot be bargained on. ``Even if November
    17 electoral results are acknowledged, our job is not finished. We
    have to fight for the establishment of democratic conditions in
    the domain of politics. If we succeed, it means that we will
    democratically, peacefully and legally topple Milosevic. If he
    does not comply with this, he will have to step down according to
    another scenario,'' Djindjic warned. He invited the citizens to a
    festive evening meeting on January 13 [Orthodox New Year]:
    ``Prepare yourself for the greatest rally in the Balkans and
    Europe. Let us show the world what's it like when 500,000 people
    turn to the streets.''  Around 16:30, the Zajedno leaders led the
    column of their supporters to a march in Knez Mihajlova Street, as
    the other streets in downtown Belgrade were blocked by the massive
    presence of riot squads.


    ``The government of Serbia will instruct the Ministry of Justice
    to demand from the competent state bodies which have not completed
    the procedures [needed] to establish the final electoral results
    do so most urgently,'' said a statement signed by the Serbian
    vice-presidents Ratko Markovic and Nedeljko Sipovac and the
    representatives of the students of the UofB today. The statement
    also said that the Serbian government will instruct the competent
    state bodies to establish the identity of those responsible for
    electoral fraud and to determine adequate penalties for the
    falsification of electoral results. The government will demand
    that the Ministry of Education seriously consider replacing the
    UofB Rector Dragutin Velickovic and his student assistant Vojin


    Vuk Draskovic, leader of the SPO, told a press conference today
    that the statement the government issued today after the meeting
    of its vice-presidents with the student delegation was a simply
    ``new trick'' by Serbian President Milosevic. He stressed that
    Zajedno will keep up its daily protests ``until the people's will
    is respected in full.''  ``I wish this statement represented a
    [genuine] step by the government,'' the SPO leader said, noting
    that the term for the reinstatement of the electoral results is
    still unclear as is the issues of which state bodies will engage
    in enacting the reinstatement. The press conference was attended
    by the Russian ruling party MP Sergey Belyayev and chairman of the
    Russian association of writers Sergey Grizunov, who have come to
    Belgrade to express their support for democratic changes in


    Belgrade Mayor Nebojsa Covic told Belgrade's BK Television today
    that it is against his moral principles to convene the Belgrade
    City Council as elected in a way that has been protested by dozens
    of thousands of students and citizens for almost two months. Covic
    said that he has been using all means he could during the
    electoral crisis to persuade ``those who can'' do so to solve the
    crisis by respecting the electoral will of the people and
    embarking on a dialogue with the opposition. Covic denied the
    press reports that he's been offered the office of premier, adding
    that he will not even consider such an offer before he receives
    firm guarantees that the conditions he has made will be fulfilled.


    Today in Belgrade, the police prevented the student march planned
    for the 51st day of their protest. The students, however, managed
    to break riot squad lines several times by playing hide and seek
    with the police. They would run down any street the police was not
    blocking, forcing the police to chase them and set up new cordons
    to turn the students back. The chase continues as we are reporting


    Member of the Nis electoral commission and president of the Nis
    municipal court, Golub Golubovic resigned his office in the
    commission today, reports Nis independent television NAIS.  At
    yesterday's meeting of the commission, Golubovic demanded that
    Zajedno's victory be recognized. He said Zajedno had won 53, the
    Socialists 16 and the Radicals 1 seat in Nis. NAIS reported today
    that a rift in the Socialists' ranks became apparent at the
    meeting of their management last night. The Socialists have split
    into two factions -- the hard-line faction of Mile Ilic against
    the recognition of Zajedno's victory, and the pragmatic faction of
    Zivota Zivkovic, local SPS leader, who demanded the reinstatement
    of the opposition victory in Nis.


    Addressing the crowds gathered in Nis today at another Zajedno
    protest rally, Zoran Zivkovic, Democratic Party vice-president,
    said Zajedno will enter the Nis City Council after the Orthodox
    New Year and form its own municipal government. ``Zajedno can go
    on [with the protests], but the time for waiting is running out,''
    he explained, adding that no violence will be used in this action.
    He called on the residents of Nis to join the noise-making
    campaign against the state propaganda machine and the RTS's prime
    time news bulletin. Students of the UofN went for their protest
    march down Nis streets in the afternoon, and later joined the
    Zajedno rally in the city's central square.


    Today's issue of the Washington Post carries an interview with
    ``one of the wealthiest people in Serbia, worth several billion US
    dollars'' Bogoljub Karic, as an example of Milosevic's growing
    alienation from even his closest friends and associates, reports
    for FoNet Slobodan Pavlovic. The article stresses the pressure
    Serbian businessmen have been putting on Milosevic not to drag out
    the electoral crisis and thus endanger the prospects of
    reintegrating the Serbian economy into international trade. In his
    Washington Post interview, Bogoljub Karic described the
    authorities' actions as ``stupid'' and ``counter-productive,''
    adding that it's not the opposition but the government itself that
    is acting as its own worst enemy. Washington Post considers
    Karic's readiness to publicly oppose the government as extremely
    important since he has had friendly relations with the Serbian
    President and his politically powerful spouse in the past and has
    so far refrained from criticizing them publicly.


    The leadership of the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) decided
    today to formally demand the introduction of a proportional
    electoral system and freedom of the media prior to deciding
    whether to participate in this year's presidential and
    parliamentary elections. The DSS statement said that without a
    new, democratic constitution, the government might change in the
    next parliamentary elections, leaving the autocratic essence of
    the political hierarchy in Serbia the same.


    Athens has not confirmed yet whether its Foreign Minister will
    travel to Belgrade for talks with the government and the
    opposition, reports for FoNet Slobodan Markovic. The electronic
    media have kept silent about the visit unofficially announced by
    Greek sources in Belgrade. The Greek press, on the other hand,
    carries confusing reports on the goals of Pangalos's trip to
    Belgrade. The influential pro-government daily Ta Nea at one point
    today said that Pangalos's mission is to mediate between the
    Serbian government and the opposition, and at another point that
    his goal is not to mediate but to gather information. Ta Nea
    claims that Pangalos's message to the Serbian government and the
    opposition is that Greece is in favor democratization and a
    political and democratic solution to the crisis in Serbia. The
    moderate left Elefterotipia abandoned today its usual criticism of
    official Belgrade in favor of Pangalos's position that the
    authorities in Serbia have been unjustly accused of hindering
    democratization. The right-oriented, leading opposition daily
    Elefterotipos has kept to its theory of an international
    conspiracy not only against Serbs but also against all other
    nations in the Balkans.


    The first unofficial reactions in Washington to today's news from
    Belgrade are characterized by satisfaction at the possible first
    step towards the desired solution of the crisis in Serbia, reports
    for FoNet Slobodan Pavlovic. The announcement of Serbian President
    Slobodan Milosevic's decision to accept fully the demands of the
    Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for
    the reinstatement of the local electoral results of November 17
    and the formation of a coalition government in Serbia received
    prominent place in the news programs by the American electronic
    media. Washington's NPR radio, citing news agencies' reports, said
    that the decision to form a coalition government was reached at
    yesterday's meeting of the top officials of the SPS and JUL.  The
    decision seems to have been made in order to pre-empt the possible
    re-imposition of economic sanctions against Serbia, which was
    expected to be announced at today's Contact Group meeting in
    Brussels. Kornblum has confirmed that the representatives of the
    U.S., Russia, Great Britain, France and Germany have discussed
    further measures against Milosevic.


    The 5-member U.S. congressional delegation has arrived in
    Montenegro for a 2-day visit at the invitation of the Montenegrin
    government. Their first meeting today was with Svetozar Marovic,
    chairman of the Montenegrin Parliament, reports Montena Fax. After
    their meeting, Bruce Vento, member of the delegation, told the
    press that ``the U.S.  congressmen appreciate the efforts
    Montenegro is putting into the development of democracy and market
    economy,'' stressing that ``the U.S.  will do their best to help
    establish political and economic stability in the region.''

    Marovic reiterated today that ``the will of the people must be
    respected [in Serbia], especially since this effects its relations
    with Montenegro.''  Marovic added that the issues being decided by
    means of ``street conflicts must be transferred to the Serbian and
    Yugoslav parliaments'' and that ``the OSCE positions must be

    After this meeting, the U.S. congressmen had a working luncheon
    with their hosts to which representatives of the opposition were
    invited. Representatives of the coalition Narodna Sloga did not
    accept this invitation, explaining that a luncheon is not a proper
    occasion to discuss serious issues with U.S. congressmen. The U.S.
    delegation is to meet with Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo
    Djukanovic in the afternoon and with Montenegrin President Momir
    Bulatovic this evening.


    The hottest news in the German media is that Zajedno has received
    the first indications that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic
    will reinstate all electoral results of November 17, reports for
    FoNet Milenko Babic. According to this information, Milosevic
    should announce his decision today. In an interview to be
    published in the German newspaper Bildt am Zontag, German foreign
    minister Claus Kinkel reiterated his demand that the local
    electoral results be acknowledged but refrained from direct
    criticism of Milosevic. He ruled out new sanctions against Serbia
    since they would affect the people primarily. Kinkel said,
    however, that the international community may further isolate the
    Belgrade authorities for blocking the way for the Serbian people
    to reintegrate into Europe. ``Germany wants the people of Serbia
    to find their place in Europe again,'' concluded Kinkel.


    Humor, wit and inventiveness are some of the weapons used by the
    students of the UofB in their protests against the riot squads,
    said an article in today's issue of the Czech daily Pravo,
    stressing that the students ``have made a point from the very
    beginning of distancing themselves from political parties and not
    letting themselves become a tool in the hands of the opposition
    for their daily political needs.'' The Czech news agency CTI
    brings a report titled ``Serbian Opposition Has Fun in Protests''
    describing, in particular, the gadgets used in Belgrade
    demonstrations. The report quotes some of the most amusing slogans
    in the demonstrations:

    ``Stop the Danube!  It's a foreign influence.''

    ``My children have been misled: they want food every day.''

    ``A misguided male student is seeking a misguided female


    Yugoslav foreign minister Milan Milutinovic has ordered that the
    telephone lines of the Federal Ministry of Trade be disconnected
    so as to compel the ministry staff to vacate the premises in Kneza
    Milosa Street, said today's issue of the Montenegrin newspaper
    Pobjeda. The article said the federal minister of trade has had to
    send a letter to the Yugoslav foreign minister, being unable to
    reach him over the phone, to demand an immediate meeting and to
    warn Milutinovic that this ``unprecedented action'' has done a
    great deal of damage to local trade, reports Montena Fax.


    A protest of Albanians living in Montenegro was staged yesterday
    in the town of Plav. They demanded the immediate release of the
    arrested Albanian youth who had tried to get a job submitting a
    degree from the so-called parallel University of Pristina, which
    is not deemed valid by the Serbian authorities.


    Bosnia and Herzegovina's minister of civil issues and
    communications and Serb member of the Bosnian Union delegation to
    the Conference of Donors in Brussels, Spasoje Albijanic told the
    news agency SRNA that the European Commission has granted 60
    million U.S. dollars in aid to the Republic of Srpska. He said
    that this amount was granted after his complaint that the Republic
    of Srpska was not receiving equal aid as the Federation of Bosnia
    and Herzegovina. He observed that this amount still fell short by
    far of what the Federation received last year.


    Bosnia-Herzegovina presidency members Alija Izetbegovic and
    Kresimir Zubak signed today an agreement on state defense. The two
    presidency members made a formal commitment to unite the army of
    Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Croat Defence Council into a joint army
    force of Bosnian Muslims and Croats, reports AFP.


    British Defence Secretary Michael Portillo said today that a
    lasting peace in Bosnia cannot be expected if the indicted war
    criminals are left at large, reports Reuters. Portillo is on a
    trip to Bosnia, to check on the contribution of the British troops
    to the implementation of the Dayton peace agreement in Bosnia.

    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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