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Protests in Serbia Archive
Odraz B92 Daily News Service

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    Odraz B92 vesti (by 10PM), January 17, 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 10 PM


    Several thousand Student Protest participants accompanied by
    Judges from the Municipal Court began ``breaking the cordons'' at
    19:30 hours tonight. Their aim is to defy a ban on marching
    through the streets of Belgrade by facing police cordons until the
    riot squads back off and allow them to proceed. Before the action
    began, student leaders commented that it would be another long
    night for the police because they do not know why they are in the
    streets, whereas the students are full of purpose.

    A judge from the Fifth Municipal Court of Belgrade addressed the
    gathered students, saying: ``So long as the Constitution and the
    law are on your side, the Belgrade judges are with you. The right
    to public gatherings and protests is provided by the Constitution.
    I hope we shall manage to establish a law-abiding state, with an
    independent judiciary and an autonomous university.'' Prince
    Aleksandar's letter of thanks was read out to the students, as
    well as a message from Bozidar Maljkovic, the well known
    basketball coach, saying that the students deserve 4 European
    championship gold cups.

    Around 21:00 hours, the 30 judges heading the students attempted
    to break the cordon in Kolarceva Street. A public address system
    was quickly set up. According to Radio B92's reporters in the
    field, students were having fun in front of the riot squad lines,
    just as they did the last two times they broke the cordons.


    Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic has sent a letter to
    the U.S.  congressman Bruce Vento, the head of the U.S.
    congressorial delegation which recently visited Montenegro,
    reports Slobodan Pavlovic of Fonet. Reiterating Montenegrin
    support for freedom of the media and the statement that Montenegro
    is implementing all its commitments under the Dayton peace treaty,
    Djukanovic said in his letter: ``The members of the U.S.
    congressorial delegation have severely criticized the Serbian
    goverment for voiding the November 17 local electoral results. I
    myself have made statements similar to these and was very
    satisfied to get the full support of the Montenegrin Parliament.
    In every meeting we had, one could get confirmation of the
    complete commitment of our government officials to democracy,
    human rights, ethnic tolerance and a market economy.''

    With regard to the concern of the U.S. congressmen over the
    problem of the Albanian population in Kosovo, Djukanovic wrote:
    ``Our government favours full democracy, human rights and freedom
    of speech, public meetings and religious confession in Kosovo. As
    you know, Kosovo is a part of Serbia and Montenegro has nothing to
    do with the Milosevic administration's policy in that region.
    Members of the former U.S. congressional delegation have met with
    Albanian representatives in our parliament. They learned that
    ethnic Albanians living in Montenegro are granted full civil
    rights in Montenegro. I share the U.S. government's position that
    Kosovo should remain an integral part of Serbia. To be honest, I
    do not know what else my government could do with regard to the
    actions of the Serbian authorities in Kosovo.''


    Free Television of Trstenik started its broadcasts 19:30 hours
    today using a new transmitter and with a new editorial policy.
    FoNet has learned from the information service of the Democratic
    Party that TV Trstenik's programmes can be viewed in 4 towns in
    central Serbia. The new transmitter was funded by citizens'
    donations, after the old one was taken down by the former general
    manager of TV Trstenik, who is also a Socialist deputy.


    No fresh U.S. statements are expected in Washington before January
    20. The U.S. Administration has its hands full at the moment with
    the Inauguration of the U.S. president on January 20, when
    Madelene Albright will officially become the new chief of the
    State Department, reports Slobodan Pavlovic.

    Representative of the State Department Nicholas Burns has
    announced that the U.S. will only believe in the desired outcome
    of the crisis in Serbia when the elected representatives of
    Zajedno are able to take their seats in the Belgrade City Assembly
    and elect its new president. In the meantime, Burns warned that
    this is the last chance for Milosevic to make a turn-about in his
    policy and embark the process of democratization in Serbia, thus
    halting the growing international isolation into which both
    Republics of the Yugoslav federation are falling.


    The Russian Parliament has expressed grave concern over the
    chronic political crisis in Serbia resulting from the conflicts
    between the opposition and authorities over local election
    results. The Russian Parliament fears this destabilization of the
    situation in Yugoslavia could affect the implementation of the
    Dayton peace agreement, reports Branko Stosic for Fonet. The
    Russian Assembly today adopted a statement on the worsening
    political crises in a series of countries in the Balkan region.
    The statement estimated that the civil confrontation in Yugoslavia
    has become critical. The representatives in the Russian Parliament
    urge that the peoples of Yugoslavia and Bulgaria themselves find
    ways out of the current political crises in their respective
    countries, without interference from abroad. The Russian
    Parliament called on all sides in the conflicts to refrain from
    extreme actions. The statement also called on all the parties
    involved to seek solutions through constructive dialogues and to
    respect democratic principles and the rule of law. The Russian
    Parliament condemned attempts by Foreign Powers to use the
    conflicts in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria for their own political ends
    contrary to the best interests of the two countries. The
    parliament stressed that this is a dangerous road leading to
    destabilization of the whole Balkan region and undermining the
    security of Europe itself. The statement further expressed the
    parliament's approval of the Serbian government's decision to co-
    operate with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in
    Europe (OSCE) but protested at the more and more open foreign
    interference in the internal affairs of Balkan countries. The
    Russian Parliament cannot just look on, the statement stressed,
    and is prepared for constructive co-operation with the parliaments
    and political forces in both Yugoslavia and Bulgaria in the
    interests of preserving stability in the Balkans.


    After the latest hardening of the Serbian authorities' position
    towards the student and opposition demands, European reporters
    conclude that the hard line has won the struggle within the ruling
    party in Serbia, reports for FoNet Mirko Klarin for FoNet.
    European analysts say that the signal for this hardening has come
    from the Contact Group, who in their Brussels meeting last
    Saturday said they are not considering the re-imposition of
    sanctions against Serbia. Chair of the Organization for Security
    and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Nils Helveg Petersen has said,
    however, that this does not mean sanctions are absolutely out of
    the question. European diplomatic sources, on the other hand,
    believe that the sanctions would hit all, including the growing
    numbers of Serbian citizens who oppose Milosevic. Instead,
    measures targeted against Milosevic and his political allies
    themselves are under consideration. The agenda of the forthcoming
    session of the Ministerial Council of the European Union (EU) on
    Monday is expected to include a discussion of such measures,
    especially in the light of yesterday's resolution of the EU
    Parliament, which demanded the freezing of all economic and
    political relations of the EU and its member countries with
    Serbia. The EU Ministerial Council should also state its position
    on the initiative of the EU Parliament that an EU delegation be
    sent to Belgrade to inform the Serbian government of all the
    consequences of a prolonged failure to comply with OSCE
    recommendations. The present Chair of the EU, Dutch Foreign
    Minister Hanc van Mirlo has already expressed his willingness to
    head such a delegation. Chair of the OSCE, Nils Helveg Petersen
    has also said that he is prepared to go to Belgrade to initiate
    talks with the government and the oppostion on ways to promote
    democracy in Serbia. He stressed, however, that he would not have
    further discussions with the Serbian government on whether the
    electoral results and the Gonzalez mission's recommendations
    should be respected. He said the electoral results simply must be


    The Nis Municpal Court rejected as groundless the appeal by the
    Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) against the electoral commission's
    decision. The decision granted 41 out of 70 Nis City Assembly
    seats to the coalition Zajendo. The SPS can now appeal to the
    Supreme Court of Serbia, but this appeal cannot postpone the
    taking of power by the new City Assembly.


    ``We express our grave concern over the contradictory decisions of
    the UofB Council with regard to the demands of the Student Protest
    96/97. The Council has publicly and fully supported all demands of
    the Students Protest only to vote against the demotion of the UofB
    Chancellor and Student Dean, which is a part of the demands of the
    Student Protest. Great damage has thereby been done to the
    reputation of the UofB. We warn the authorities and the general
    public that this has made the resumption of teaching even
    harder,'' said today's statement signed by the deans of 14 schools
    of the UofB.


    President of the Republic of Srpska (RS), Biljana Plavsic had
    talks in Banja Luka today with chief of the EU monitoring mission
    for former Yugoslavia, Dan Evers. The two discussed the
    implementation of the Dayton agreement and international
    arbitration over Brcko, the RS newsagency SRNA reports. Plavsic
    warned that the issue of Brcko could be a jeopardy to the peace
    process in Bosnia. Evers's reply was a reassurance that the EU
    monitors punctually and precisely report on the happenings in the
    region. RS Foreign Minister Aleska Buha stated in Belgrade today
    that he believed the RS and the citizens of Brcko can peacefully
    await the withdrawal of the peace-keepers in their area.


    Vojin Dimitrijevic, a leading member of the management of the
    Civil Alliance of Serbia, will leave for Prague tomorrow. He will
    meet top officials from the Czech President's office, including
    the Vice Czech foreign minister and representatives of the Czech
    parliamentary foreign affairs commission, reports FoNet.


    German Foreign Minister Claus Kinkel will meet Zoran Djindjic, one
    of the Zajedno leaders and head of the Democratic Party on Sunday,
    announced the German Foreign Ministry today. This will be the
    first official contact between the German government and the
    coalition Zajedno, reports Milenko Babic for FoNet.


    The Yugoslav United Left (JUL) issued a statement today on the
    recent assault on the Chancellor of the University of Pristina.
    ``Secure and peaceful living of the citizens of Kosovo and
    Metohija, as well as of the whole Serbia have been brought into
    question recently. Jeopardizing anybody's life in Kosovo and
    Metohija, in Belgrade or anywhere else is a terrorist act. Such
    acts, regardless of the national, religious, political or
    professional option must be promptly and severely punished,'' said
    the statement.


    Ratko Markovic, Vice-President of the Serbian Government has
    described the latest decision of the Belgrade Electoral Commission
    recognizing Zajedno's victory for the Belgrade City Assembly, as
    ``a nightmare of sheer nonsenses and untruths,'' reports Serbian
    state media. He described the decision as ``a legal monster
    dreamed up by somebody who wanted to deride the law and justice.''

    Prepared by: Aleksandra Scepanovic
    Edited by: Mary Anne Wood

    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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