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Protests in Serbia Archive
Odraz B92 Daily News Service

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    Odraz B92 vesti (by 2 PM), January 14, 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 2 PM


    Several hundred thousand of Belgraders, according to the Belgrade
    daily press even up to 500,000, flooded the downtown Belgrade last
    night to join the celebration of the Ortodox New Year's Eve.
    Republic and Terazije Squares as well as the off streets were
    packed solid with people ``armed'' with whistles, sirens, drums
    and good spirits. The protest march, unhindered by the police,
    lasted all night, down Srpskih Vladara Street, Belgrade's main
    thoroughfare and Knez Mihajlova Street, the pedestrian precinct.
    There were, in fact, no signs of the police apart from the few
    traffic police members. A stage was set up in Republic Square to
    host a programme by numerous music and drama artists. Although the
    public address system provided for this occasion was powerful, the
    programme was difficult to follow for the thousands of whistles
    and sirens making enormous noise. A recorded felicitation by
    Serbian Patriarch Pavle was played to the crowds, blessing the
    gathering. Fireworks and red torches marked the midnight. The
    Zajedno leaders wished the crowds a happy New Year. Zoran
    Djindjic, head of the Democratic Party (DS) said: ``We expect this
    will be the year of Serbian victory. Belgrade is today centre of
    the world once again.'' Vuk Draskovic, head of the Serbian Renewal
    Movement (SPO) said this is no occasion for too big a celebration
    for Serbia is still a prison and its citizens the prisoners.
    ``Serbia must get out of prison this year, and become a free
    state. The condition for this is the acknowledgement of the
    electoral will of the people of November 17,'' said Draskovic. A
    gig begun after midnight, featuring some of the best Serbian rock


    Upwards of a hundred thousand Nisans celebrated last night the
    Ortodox New Year's Eve in Nis's central square. The celebration
    was organized by the coalition Zajedno, who announced their
    victory in the local elections in this city. Just before the
    beginning of the celebration, the gathered Nisans carried by
    acclamation the proposal that a new City Assembly be constituted
    with 41 Zajedno deputies. The downtown Nis was crowded with the
    Zajedno supporters, taxis, students, pensioners, people from the
    neighbouring towns and villages. Thousands of whistles and
    firecrackers resounded in the town, over which spectacular fire-
    works were set of by a special crew that had arrived from
    Kragujevac for this occasion. The citizens were treated to a baked
    ox, flat-bread and drinks provided by hundreds of sponsors from
    Nis and neighbourning towns. The first to wish the crowds a happy
    New Year was vice-president of Serbian Renewal Movement in Nis,
    Zvonimir Budic who said this year will be inscribed in the Serbian
    history in golden letters for the Zajedno victory in the local
    elections. The celebration continued into the morning hours.
    Neither any incidents nor police occurred in the streets of Nis,
    reports FoNet.


    The Serbian Government will today, or tomorrow the latest, issue a
    statement acknowledging the opposition victory in the local
    elections in 13 cities and 9 Belgrade municipalities with the
    exclusion of the Belgrade City Assenbly, learns the daily Dnevni
    Telegraf from sources close to the Serbian Government. The source
    claims that the Serbian Ministry of Justice has found
    irregularities in the electoral procedures and sent its reports of
    these to the Serbian Government. The Ministry did not, however,
    examine the procedures of the elections for the Belgrade City
    Assembly, for the Serbian Supreme Court had already established
    these electoral results. ``What the proportion in the City
    Assembly will be is entirely up to a political settlement among
    the parties,'' said the Dnevni Telegraf's source. In the case of
    Nis, the Ministy established that the minutes were changed on the
    way from the polling stations to the Nis Elecoral Commission.
    According to Dnevni Telegraf's source, the Ministry is not
    authorized to bring legal suits against those who perpetrated
    electoral frauds. This is the job of Republic Public Prosecutor at
    his own initiative or if the Serbian Government demands it.


    Instead of the representatives of the Student Protest 96/97, who
    were expected to wish a happy New Year to the citizens at midnight
    last night, the Zajedno leaders appeared on the stage. The daily
    Nasa Borba has learned that the Steering Board of the Student
    Protest was prevented from coming to the stage just before
    mignight. The members of the Steering Board told Nasa Borba that
    Vuk Draskovic, one of the Zajedno leaders and head of the Serbian
    Renewal Movement, and his wife Danica said to the student
    representatives that they were not welcome around Republic Square.
    The Draskovics told the students that it was not their deserve
    that Serbia was protesting and that they had nothing to do with
    the whole thing. ``You would not exist if it were not for us.
    These people have not come to see you,'' said the pair. During the
    whole incident, one of Draskovic's body guards was holding Pedja
    Antic, head of the studnents' Steering Board by the collar of his
    jacket. The members of the Steering Board told Nasa Borba that the
    the Draskovics called them idiots. The students stated, however,
    that Zoran Djindjic, one of the Zajedno leaders and head of the
    Democratic Party had nothing to do with the incident.


    Bruce Vento, chief of the U.S. congressorial delegation to
    Montenegro has warned that even Montenegro, sharing one state with
    Serbia, who is refusing to respect the electoral will of its
    people, could be faced with serious consequences, reports Montena
    Fax. ``It could be a great hinderance to re-entrance of your
    contry into the international community,'' he said urging
    Montenegro to put its efforts in solving this problem promptly.


    Novak Kilibarda, one of the leaders of the Montenegrin opposition
    coalition Narodna Sloga has sent a letter to Svetozar Marovic,
    speaker of the Montenegrin Parliament and vice-president of the
    ruling Socialist Democratic Party of Montenegro (DPS). The letter
    urged Marovic to see that his party withdraws its consent in the
    Federal Parliament to the ban on live TV broadcasts of the Federal
    Parliament sessions. ``If the Socialist Party of Serbia still
    upheld the ban on live broadcasts, Mr Marovic's duty is to make
    the broadcasts for the Montenegrin audiences possible. This would
    contribute to revealing the major culprits for the current
    political crisis in the country,'' read the letter. Marovic's
    reply to the letter was a single sentence, reports Montena Fax:
    ``With regard to your letter, I wish to inform you that,
    considering the real and the possible, I remain trully committed
    to the democratic principles of modern societies.''


    The U.S. administration has publicly thanked Greek Foreign
    Minister Teodoros Pangalos for his effort to persuade Serbian
    President Slobodan Milosevic that the European Union is unanimous
    in its support to the report of the Organization for Security and
    Co-operation in Europe, reports for FoNet Slobodan Pavlovic. The
    Administration representative, Nicholas Burns assessed as
    impressive the unaninimity with which the Contact group in its
    meeting in Brussels last Saturday demanded that Serbian President
    Slobodan Milosevic recognize all disputed electoral results and
    provides the necessary conditions for changes in Serbia. He stated
    that the U.S. have cut all political and economic relations with
    Serbia since the eruption of the crisis over the local electoral
    results. He also said that Washington is stepping up its work on a
    programme for U.S. aid to the opposition, the independent media,
    non-governmental organizations and other democratic forces in
    Serbia. The aid will be similar in form to that which had been
    used in the countries of Easter Europe and the former Soviet


    French Foreign Minister Ervet De Charette had talks with Vesna
    Pesic, one of the Zajedno leaders and head of the Civil Alliance
    of Serbia, in Paris yesterday, Reuters reports. He told the press
    after the meeting that France has been pressurizing Belgrade since
    begining of the crisis that a peaceful and democratic solution be
    found. He reiterated France's warnings to Serbia that local
    electoral results must be respected and a dialogue between the
    Serbian authorities and the opposition be renewed. Pesic expressed
    her ``extreme satisfaction'' with the talks she had with the
    French Foreign Minister but left further details for the press
    conference she is to hold after her meeting with Lionnel
    Josepenne, the leader of the French oppositon Socialist Party.
    Asked whether France intends to cut economic relations with
    Belgrade, the spokesman of the French Foreign Minister said France
    will continue political and diplomatic pressure rather than
    economis, for Pesic warned against any measures that affect common
    people in Serbia since the Serb nationalists have been useing such
    actions to their ends.


    The Belgrade Electoral Commission convened today. It rejected the
    rulings by the First Municipal Court of Belgrade annuling 45
    mandates. According to the Commission's decision, Zajedno has 60
    representatives in the City Assembly, the leftist coalition (SPS-
    JUL) 23, the Radicals 15 and the Democratic Party of Serbia 2. The
    fate of the remaining 10 disputed seats, for which 3rd and 4th
    electoral rounds were called, is to be decided over the next 3

    The information service of the Serbian Parliament has announced
    that a panel is scheduled for 8 p.m. tonight, which will be
    broadcast live by Channel 2 of the Radio Television Serbia.

    Some 20,000 citizens of Novi Sad celebrated the Ortodox New Year
    in the city's central Liberty Square, while over 50,000 citizens
    of Kragujevac turned to their hometown's central streets for the
    same occasion.

    21 window panes were smashed on the Belgrade's Bajkarli mosk last
    night. The incident occurred after the last evening service in the
    mosk, so that there were none present at the moment of the
    incident. The police appeared on the spot only this morning. This
    has been the 7th attack on the mosk since 1992.


    An open letter signed by all employees of the (state) Radio
    Television Serbia (RTS) was sent to their General Manager. It
    stressed the staff's concern over the fate of their colleagues
    after the new Law on Working Relationships has been adopted. The
    law provides for firing those on forced leaves, and these have
    been many in this company and mainly for the reason of disobeying
    the company's restrictions on expression. The letter pinpoints the
    case of Mladen Popovic, arts programme editor, who has been
    punished by a forced leave for expressing his political beliefs
    outside of work. The RTS staff urge their general manager to
    revoke this decision.

    Prepared by: Aleksandra Scepanovic
    Edited by: (not edited; to be resent upon editing)

    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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