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Protests in Serbia Archive
Odraz B92 Daily News Service

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service

    Odraz B92 vesti (by 12 midnight), February 16, 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.



    Zajedno leaders Vuk Draskovic and Zoran Djindjic told Radio B92 on
    Sunday that protest rallies against the November election fraud
    had finished on Saturday, but that demonstrations would resume on
    March 9 if the Serbian government failed to liberate the media by
    that date.

    Mr Draskovic said that the suspension of protests was intended to
    show that Zajedno was prepared enter a dialogue with the
    government, although he did not believe that it would have a
    positive outcome.

    ``Milosevic has committed himself to developing the media, to
    passing a new electoral law, to providing fully democratic
    conditions for the forthcoming elections. We are prepared to
    negotiate, although we already know that nothing will come of it.
    After that we shall have the right, according to the Gonzalez
    report, to struggle in the streets for the implementation of the
    basic part of that report,'' said Mr Draskovic.

    Mr Djindjic noted that other forms of protest were still
    continuing, the student protest, the evening noise protest at the
    media blockade and the strikes.


    In an interview with Radio Index on Sunday, Zoran Djindjic said
    that he was ready for a difficult year, as the ruling Socialist
    Party of Serbia seemed inclined to escalate political tension, and
    the recognition of local election results had achieved victory in
    only the first phase of Zajedno's struggle.

    Mr Djindjic went on to say that the cause of the political crisis
    was Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's policy which could
    obviously not be changed. He predicted that there would be a wave
    of social protest in the spring, provoked by the regime's
    willingness to free the media and introduce democratisation. He
    also predicted that a political solution would appear before the
    presidential elections in the form of President Milosevic's
    resignation, or perhaps the disintegration of his party.

    Mr Djindjic said that candidacies for posts in the Belgrade City
    Assembly would be discussed by Zajedno in the next few days. He
    said that his party favoured constituting the city governments
    with officials from all Zajedno parties, to encourage mutual
    control and responsibility. He stressed that there would be no
    sackings on the ground of party membership, only on the basis of

    Asked about the future of formerly independent Belgrade radio and
    television Studio B, now under the control of the city government,
    Mr Djindjic said that his intention was that Studio B should once
    again be independent. He planned to call together a number of
    independent Belgrade journalists and seek their advice on how to
    resolve the issue of the broadcaster.


    About 15,000 students and citizens marched through Belgrade on
    Sunday, protesting against state media. Student leaders announced
    a rally of support for striking teachers in front of the Serbian
    Government building on Monday.


    Democratic Party of Serbia deputy-elect to the Belgrade City
    Assembly Aleksandra Joksimovic has resigned from the party to join
    Zoran Djindjic's Democratic Party. The Democratic Party announced
    this defection on Sunday, adding that this brought Zajedno to its
    69th seat in the City Assembly.


    The UN Special Envoy for Human Rights, Elizabeth Rhen paid a
    brief, unofficial visit to Belgrade on Saturday. Ms Rhen met
    Zajedno leader Vesna Pesic and several of the demonstrators who
    were injured in the violent police action of February 2.


    The Vice President of the Serbian Renewal Movement, Milan
    Komnenic, addressed the 91st Zajedno protest rally in Nis on
    Sunday, saying that the coalition had called a halt to
    demonstrations as a gesture of goodwill, and to allow space for a
    dialogue with the government.

    Mr Komnenic said that Zajedno would insist on the replacement of
    the Serbian Ministers for the Interior and Justice, as well as the
    Speaker of the Parliament.

    Vice President of the Nis City Government Aleksandar Krstic
    announced that protests in Nis would continue until all city
    assemblies in Serbia had been constituted. He said that legal
    action was underway against members of the Nis Electoral
    Commission who had been responsible for the electoral fraud.


    The Serbian government announced on Sunday that it had signed an
    agreement with the Republic Council of the Teachers' Trade Union,
    which represents striking teachers.

    However, the Vice President of the Republic Council for Education
    and chief negotiator for the teachers, Jagos Bulatovic, told Radio
    B92 that he was shocked by the news of this agreement. He said
    that the strikes would continue until authorised negotiators had
    signed an agreement with the government.


    Part time employees of Radio Television Politika on Sunday
    continued their strike for overdue wages and a clarification of
    their employment status. BK Television reported on Sunday that
    Politika director Hadzi Dragan Antic had told the strikers that he
    did not wish to negotiate with them and that he had reorganised
    radio and television programs to function without them.


    Citizens in Vukovar have been protesting for more than ten days
    over the situation in the regions of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and
    Western Srem. About 10,000 people on Sunday demanded that UNTAES
    and the international community provide protection for Serbs
    living in the region.

    The UN Transition Administrator for Eastern Slavonia, Jacques
    Klein, told Radio B92 that the people had a right to protest.
    However Mr Klein added that these matters could only be sorted out
    between Croatia and Yugoslavia, and that Belgrade and Zagreb must
    address this problem as soon as possible.

    In an interview with Reuters, Mr Klein predicted that up to 20,000
    of Eastern Slavonia's 120,000 Serbs would flee the region once
    Croat control were established. Mr Klein described the potential
    refugees as Serb nationalists, some of them war criminals who
    simply could not live in a Catholic Croat state. He said that most
    of the Serbs would remain.


    SFOR reported another two explosions in the Muslim sector of Most
    on Saturday night, according to FoNet.


    Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald has instructed the governments of
    Croatia and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to file
    evidential materials relevant to the Blackic case with the Hague
    War Crimes Tribunal by February 19. Croatian army General Blackic
    has been indicted for crimes against Muslim civilians in central

    In the event of failure to meet this demand, Judge McDonald has
    summoned the two countries' defence ministers to appear before the
    Hague Tribunal on February 19 and explain their governments'

    These summonses represent an important change in the strategy of
    Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour, who has now turned to formal legal
    instruments in order to force Croatia, Bosnia and Yugoslavia to
    obey the Tribunal's instructions.

    Prepared by: Marija Milosavljevic
    Edited by: Steve Agnew

    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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