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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 16, 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


    Belgrade media reported on Thursday that Serbian President
    Milosevic and Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Marjanovic met today to
    discuss the current situation in Serbia and privatisation of the
    Serbian economy.

    President Milosevic stressed that the success of the economic
    policy hinged on the ability of top cadres to implement it, and
    announced a reshuffle in the government.

    Mr. Milosevic insisted on the preservation of political stability
    in Serbia because confrontation over political differences had not
    only had negative political effects but also massive economic ones
    for the country.

    He also stressed that political differences must not be allowed to
    block economic and day to day life, urging that the political and
    party contentions be solved constructivelly and democratically.
    He, again, pointed out the important role the government should
    play in this.


    The Belgrade Electoral Commission's decision acknowledgning
    Zajedno's majority in the Belgrade City Assembly, was sent today
    to the coalition Zajedno. That decision annuled 45 rulings by the
    Belgrade Municipal Court on November 23, which cancelled 33
    Zajedno seats in the Belgrade City Assembly.

    The legal term for the appeal against this decision is 48 hours
    from the time of notification. Zajedno has no intention of
    submitting any appeal, but sources have indicated that the
    Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) and the Yugoslav United Left (JUL)
    may to do otherwise.

    This commisssion decision also annuled the November 23 rulings of
    the Belgrade Municipal Court -- namely the 3rd and 4th electoral

    The electoral commission claimed that the court only had the
    authority to annul the commission's decisions after the SPS had
    filed their complaints and order it to revise its electoral

    The court, however, did not have the authority to call a new round
    of elections, and the Municipal Court decision to do was therefore

    According to the Belgrade Electoral Commission's decision of
    January 14, Zajedno holds 60 seats in the Belgrade City Assembly,
    the coalition SPS-JUL 23, the Serbian Radical Party 15 and the
    Democratic Party 2. The commission has ordered its legal staff to
    determine in 3 days' time what happened to the 10 remaining
    disputed seats in the 3rd and 4th electoral round.


    The 58th protest in the streets of Belgrade started on Thursday
    surrounded by 3-deep riot police cordons in Kolarceva Street. To
    avoid confrontation, and at the invitation of the Zajedno leaders,
    the demonstrators withdrew from that street to the adjacent
    Republic Square.

    Opposition leader Zoran Djindjic warned the demonstrators that
    Serbian President Milosevic would cancel the decision of the
    Belgrade Electoral Commission to restore the Zajedno victory in
    the Belgrade City Assembly.

    Mr. Djindjic continued that deep divisions plagued the ruling
    Socialists and that it was time for the more astute part of the
    Socialist Party to publically reject the adventurist policy of
    their President.

    ``It is time for everybody in this country to declare which side
    they are on: on the side of insanity or on the side of common
    sense,'' emphasized Djindjic.

    He labelled as false, information that Zajedno leaders had met
    with Milosevic. ``During the previous six years our President has
    never summoned us to talk about the future of Serbia. We would
    have told him what we think. It is normal practice in every normal
    country. But Serbia is not a normal country. He does not even have
    to call us. It would be enough to mail us a single sentence saying
    that he had decided to respect the will of the people. Then we
    could talk about how to replace him peacefully,'' stressed

    Fresh from her trip to France, Zajedno leader Vesna Pesic, told
    the crowd that the French government had also supported Zajedno at
    the session of the Organization for the Security and Co-operation
    in Europe and the European Union ministerial council on January

    ``They think it is important in the long term that we keep our
    protest up, that we make a good programme, and that Serbia will
    then be admitted to the European Union. It is crucial that we
    persevere in our protest. You have seen what a plan the Yugoslav
    United Left has made. They are resorting to delaying tactics to
    fool the world and wipe us out of here. If they fail in that, you
    have seen how many of them are in favour of the use of force,''
    stressed Pesic.

    Mrs. Pesic also said that in her estimate the Belgrade Electoral
    Commission's decision had not been influenced by either Serbian
    President Milosevic or his wife Mirjana Markovic, but was made by
    a group of people who respected their conscience.

    Pesic continued that it was essential that the protest gave the
    authorities a deadline to recognize the legitimate electoral
    results. If the authorities failed to meet this deadline, Pesic
    warned that Zajedno would raise all Serbia.

    Opposition leader Vuk Draskovic said that Zajedno had won in the
    eyes of the world, and would soon win in those of Serbia. He said
    the authorities had 3--4 days to recognize Zajedno's victory after
    which all Serbia would rise.

    After the meeting, the demonstrators marched through Belgrade
    pedestrian Knez Mihajlova Street.


    In a statement for German Television, opposition leader Zoran
    Djindjic, said that he expected that the electoral commission's
    decision to restore the Zajedno victory in Belgrade would be
    revoked as the government has a right of appeal.

    He assessed that, after that, the crisis in Belgrade might
    deteriorate and that Milosevic could even go so far as to announce
    a state of emorgency.

    Mr. Djinjic announced that the protests in Serbia would continue
    nonetheless until the opposition's victory was recognized in all
    14 cities where the authorities had cancelled November 17
    electoral resutls.


    Representatives of the opposition coalition Zajedno -- Vesna
    Pesic, Vuk Draskovic and Zoran Djindjic -- will fly to Rome
    tonight at the invitation of the Italian government.

    The leaders of the opposition are to have talks with Foreign
    Minsiter Lamberto Dini and other senior representatives of the
    Italian government. The Zajedno leaders are expected to return to
    Belgrade on Friday at 14:00 hours, to attend the day's protest in
    the Serbian capital.


    Vesna Pesic, one of the Zajedno leaders and head of the Civil
    Alliance of Serbia, told a press conference on Thursday that
    circumstances surrounding recognition of the local electoral
    victory of Zajedno in Belgrade were ``completely uncertain.''

    She explained that it was still unclear whether or not the
    Belgrade Electoral Commission had made the decision on its own or
    on instructions from the Socialist Party of Serbia, who wants to
    pacify the demonstrators and confuse the international community.


    Today's 56th day of student protest was dedicated to the action of
    scrubbing the wall of Belgrasde Chancellor's building because, in
    the words of students, the Chancellor himself cannot be cleaned of
    his guilt.

    The Steering Board of the Student Protest 96/97 announced 2
    actions for Friday: at noon, the students of the School of
    Veterinary will bring domestic pets in front of their school and
    take them for a walk; at 18:00 hours all students are expected to
    gather in front of the Faculty of Philosophy and march with a
    number of judges who have recently joined them.


    Vojislav Seselj, leader of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS)
    announced on Thursday that a delegation of the French 'Front
    National', lead by the party's president Jean Marrie Le Penn, is
    to pay an official visit to the SRS.

    Seselj stated that the reason for this visit was the similarity
    between the ideologies and interests of the two parties.

    Referring to the decision of the Belgrade Electoral Commission to
    recognize the initial electoral results of the second round,
    Seselj said his party would be glad to get its seats back but that
    this decision showed that ``no rule of law existed in this

    Commenting on the attempted assassination of the Chancellor of the
    University of Pristina, Seselj said this action was aimed creating
    an atmosphere of panic and insecurity among Serbs living in
    Kosovo. ``It is only the forboding of the serious terrorist
    actions the Albanian separatists plan for March,'' said Seseljl.


    Protocole of the Nis City Assembly announced today that the
    session to constitute a new Nis City Assembly will be held on
    January 27. This date was agreed on at a meeting with outgoing Nis
    mayor, Stojan Randjelovic and the Zajedno leadership of Nis.

    A new mayor and president of the city government will be elected
    at this session. The Zajedno Nis branch announced that the
    protests in this city would continue until the local election
    results of November 17 were recognized in all the cities in Serbia
    where that coalition had won.


    In an interview with Reuters new agency, Dusan Mihajlovic, leader
    of New Democracy (ND) urged for the immediate recognition of
    opposition victories in the local elections in Serbia, FoNet
    reported on Thursday.

    ``The massive damage the current crisis has done to Serbia is
    proof of a stupid and irresponsible policy,'' he saidand added
    that his party's position was that the best way out of the crisis
    was that both the authorities and the oppostion respect the OSCE

    Analysts believe ND is opening the door which Milosevic has so far
    refused to go through, in spite of the growing political and
    economic damage the country is suffering.

    Mihajlovic warned that there are only a few days left to sort out
    ``this chaos.'' Reuters also pointed out that Mihajlovic had in
    mind the forthcoming EU ministerial council and the inaugurational
    ceremony of the U.S. president.

    ``These two gatherings are expected to put great pressure on
    Milosevic, but it remains unclear whether the Serbian President
    will bow to the last call to reason,'' Mihajlovic concluded.


    The German Government and parliamentary parties called on Serbian
    President Slobodan Milosevic to acknowledge the oppositon
    victories of November 17, Reuters reported on Thursday.

    During a recent German parliamentary debate, all parliamentary
    parties expressed their support for the coalition Zajedno. German
    Foreign Minister Claus Kinkel said that the recognition of the
    Zajedno victories in Belgrade and Nis City Assemblies must be
    implemented along with their victories in other Serbian cities.


    The European Parliament issued a resolution on Thursday urging the
    EU member states to freeze economic and other relations with
    Belgrade until the November 17 opposition victory in the local
    electons have been recognized, reports AFP.

    This decision should be effective until the recommendations of the
    Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe have been
    fully implemented and further democratization started.

    The European Parliament will also demand that a mission comprising
    of the former, present and the next chair of the European Union be
    sent to Belgrade to warn the Serbian authorities of the importance
    of an urgent and complete implementation of the OSCE
    recommendations, as well as to establish contacts with opposition


    In a resolution adopted in a plenary session in Strazbourg today,
    the European Parliament demanded that the Comission, Ministerial
    Council and the governments of the EU member states refrain from
    entering into any discussions on furthering their relations with
    the FR Yugoslavia until specific steps have been taken towards the
    implementation of the OSCE recommendations and the democratization
    of the Serbian political system, reports for FoNet Mirko Klarin.

    The EU Parliament also called on the Commission, the Ministerial
    Council and the governments of the EU member states to hold this
    position in the managing bodies of the International Monetary Fund
    and the World Bank, as well as in the negotiations in
    reprogramming the Yugoslav debts.

    Lest this be taken as a sign that the future development of the FR
    Yugoslavia with the EU depended on the implementation of the
    Gonzalez mission of the OSCE, the European Parliament reminded
    Serbian authorities that the ultimate goal of the Dayton accords
    was to establish the rule of law, democracy and respect of the
    human rights throughout the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
    This included the return of the autonomous status of Kosovo and
    full co-operation with the International War Crimes Tribunal in
    the Hague.


    The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
    stated on Thursday that the solution to the political crisis in
    Serbia was simple -- Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's
    authorities should fully recognize the opposition victory in the
    local elections and hand seats in the municipality and city
    assemblies over to them.

    Danish Foreign Secretary and chair of the OSCE, Nils Helveg
    Petersen has said that he has made this clear in his letter to
    Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic, reports Reuters.

    In his letter, Petersen stressed that Gonzalez, chief of the OSCE
    fact-finding mission, founded his report on the fair electoral
    results, which cannot be disputed or negotiated.

    Petersen advised Belgrade to initiate law changes to prevent
    future nullifications of electoral results on the grounds of minor
    technical difficulties and arbitrary repetitions of voting.

    In his address to the permanent council of the OSCE, Petersen
    expressed his willingness to open up negotiations with Belgrade on
    the ways of furthering democracy in Serbia in the spheres such as
    the freedom of the media, independend judiciary and improvement of
    the electoral system. He also said that Belgrade must accept an
    OSCE mission to Kosovo, Sandzak and Vojvodina.


    Although Sergey Beljajev, the leader of the parliamentary faction
    of the pro-Serbian government movement of ``Our Home is Russia,''
    went to Belgrade on a private visit, his talks with the
    representatives of the opposition in Serbia may effect a change in
    the Russian position towards the current situation in Serbia,
    assessed Russia's national radio station ``Voice of Russia'' .

    The Radio stated that Beljajev's visit to Belgrade had filled a
    gap in the contacts between Russian authorities and opposition
    politicians in Serbia, all the more for his statement that the
    democratic forces of Russia supported the demands for democratic
    change in Serbia and Yugoslavia, reports for FoNet Branko Stosic.



    Alija Izetbegovic, President on the rotating presidency of Bosnia
    Herzegovina, will spend 5 days in hospital for routine medical
    checks, stated the Bosnian Presidency information department.


    Momcilo Krajisnik, member of the Bosnian Presidency, and Cornelius
    Somaruga, chairman of the International Committee of the Red Cross
    (ICRC) had talks in Pale today.

    The talks concerned the issue of missing persons and the future
    activities of the ICRC in the Republic of Srpska (RS). RS
    newsagency SRNA reported that Somaruga has stated that they agreed
    on the necessity of the intensification of the ICRC's work in the
    RS, and the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to provide help for
    the most afflicted as soon as possible.

    Somaruga stressed that the ICRC will be able to solve one of the
    most delicate humanitarian problems -- that of the missing persons
    -- only with the active participation of the RS and BiH
    authorities and all national communities.


    A group of Macedonian students staged a protest today in front of
    the Macedonian parliamentary building in Skopje. They were
    protesting the proposed bill of the School of Pedagogy to provide
    teaching in Albanian, reports newsagency Makfax.

    The goal of the Macedonian students is to pressurize the
    Macedonian MPs, who are in session for the first time this year
    not to discuss this bill.

    The student protest began two days ago, when a student delegation
    met with the Macedonian Prime Minister and the Minister of
    Education. But the Macedonian government refused to withdraw the
    bill and suggested that student protestors join parliamentary
    commissions discussions.

    Macedonian press has described the protest as ``reckless'' and
    ``an attempt to cement ethnic-national divisions.''

    The management of the ruling Social-Democratic Union has condemned
    the student protest for seeking to deprive Albanian students of
    their democratic rights. Albanian political parties in Macedonia
    have also condemned the protest as ``shameful.''

    Prepared by: Aleksandra Scepanovic
    Edited by: Julia Glyn-Picket

    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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