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Protests in Serbia Archive
Odraz B92 Daily News Service

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    Odraz B92 vesti (by 9 PM), January 18, 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.


    Dear readers,

    We wish to apologize for the recent delays of our bulletins. These
    have been result of technical problems with the international
    telecommunication lines.

    Editorial staff of Odraz B92

    NEWS BY 9 PM


    Lennie Fischer, European Parliament spokeswoman in Strazbourg,
    demanded Saturday that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic be
    totally isolated from the international community, FoNet reported
    on Saturday.

    In an interview with Berlin radio 'Deutchland Funk', Fischer
    opposed the idea of new sanctions as they would hit Serbian people
    and not the authorities

    She underlined that clear international support to the opposition
    in Serbia and political isolation of Milosevic were essential to
    drive the message home to Mr. Milosevic that his behaviour as

    Ms. Fischer also said that there was a serious threat of civil war
    in Serbia and she urged for prompt action.

    But Ms. Fischer concluded that Milosevic's persoanl political
    future was not a matter of European concern. ``Maybe there the
    possibilty of dialogue still exists, if, that is, the Serbian
    President recognizes local election results in full,''


    More than thirty thousand people in Belgrade celebrated the 60th
    day of protests at the November election fraud on Saturday.

    Opposition leader, Zoran Djindjic, one of the Zajedno told
    demonstrators that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic was
    deliberating a government reshuffle at a moment when the whole was
    watching for something crucial to happen in Serbia.

    He announced that a candidate for the post of Serbian Prime
    Minister was Dusan Matkovic, manager of a foundery in Smederevo,
    and an ``expert at growing mushrooms.''

    Mr. Djindjic added that the Serbian President's plans for
    privatization were a pretext for further robbery of the people.

    He then warned that according to this privatization plan,
    Milosevic would turn Serbia into his own private company. Djindjic
    invited demonstrators to bring their pets to Sunday's march
    through the Belgrade streets for ``although the essence of this
    political system is inhuman, maybe it will spare the animals.''

    Oppostion leader Vuk Draskovic condemned ``the often hypocritical
    attitude of the international community, who only form agreements
    with those who disregard their demands.'' ``If you do not have
    other means of pressure, do not threaten him [Milosevic] with
    isolation,'' was his message Saturday to the international

    In a summary of events over the past 2 months, Mr. Draskovic
    judged that the SPS's rule had been totally undermined. He sadi
    that the SPS had lost support in the army, the police and the
    Church and their only remaining support was from, in his words
    ``the greatest factory of lies in the world'' -- the state-owned
    Radio Television Serbia and the publishing house Politika, and the
    Yugoslav United Left, who were now virtually leading the SPS.

    Draskovic promised that even these last pillars of support to the
    SPS would soon give way.

    Opposition leader Vesna Pesic said that Mr. Milosevic had shown
    how ill-informed he was as had sacked from his party all those who
    had sought to tell him the truth about the current election

    After Saturday's meeting, a column of demonstrators headed for
    their march in Knez Mihajlova Street, which was surrounded by riot
    police cordons.


    At the start of Zajedno protest meeting in Sabac on Saturday,
    several policemen beat demonstrators, while other riot police
    forced the crowd back to Sabac's Liberty Square.

    Exact numbers of those beaten are still unknown.

    The protest meeting in Sabac continued after local Zajedno leaders
    managed to calm the situation. At the end of the protest, some 100
    protestors managed to break through riot police cordonsline and
    march unimpeded through the centre.


    2 months after the second round of local elections the government
    is still unwilling to recognise the official and full results of
    those elections, said a statement from the Serbian Renewal
    Movement (SPO) Saturday.

    The SPO also accused the ruling parties of trying to confuse the
    general public by ``bombarding'' it daily with contradictory
    statements from various jurists, courts and commissions.

    The SPO concluded that the government had only managed to stay in
    power only thanks to this confusion and condemned those judges and
    legal experts who had helped to create it.


    Tahir Hasanovic, Secretary General of 'New Democracy' (ND) told
    Reuters on Sunday that he expected the Socialist Party of Serbia
    (SPS) to appeal against the decision of the Belgrade Electoral
    Commission. That decision recognized Zajedno's election victories
    in the Belgrade City Assembly. According to Hasanovic, this would
    show that the SPS was not prepared to ``end the crisis


    Nebojsa Covic, current Mayor of Belgrade, told the daily 'Dnevni
    Telegraf' Saturday that he had had a meeting with Serbian
    President Slobodan Milosevic three days before he was dismissed
    from the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS).

    He said he had urged Milosevic to end the crisis by recognizing
    the opposition victories in the November local elections and to
    open dialogue with the oppostion and encourage free media.

    Mr. Milosevic allegedly promised to reply to his requests a day or
    two later. Mr. Covic now fears that his expulsion from the SPS may
    be an indication of type of solution Milosevic has chosen.

    Mr. Covic also stated that the SPS had dismissed him on the
    grounds that his demands and public support for students had
    tarnished the party's reputation.

    But the ``official version'' was somewhat different: it attributed
    his dismissal to conflicts with SPS member and President of SPS
    Belgrade Socialists, Branislav Ivkovic, as well as his
    mismanagement of the Nis election campaign.

    ``I kept trying to convince Milosevic to get rid of the dangerous
    and unscrupulous people who surround him and who are capable of
    dragging us [Serbia] to a tragic end,'' claimed Covic, adding that
    it was those same people who had persuaded Milosevic that the
    results of the second round of local elections could be annulled

    He then named top party members he though most responsible for the
    election crisis [JUL's] Zoran Todorovic, [and the SPS's] Branislav
    Ivkovic, Gorica Gajevic, Nikola Sainovic.


    The teachers' branch of the trade union Nezavisnost [Independence]
    staged a protest ``public lesson'' in Belgrade's Republic Square
    on Saturday.

    The 'lesson' was attended by over a thousand teachers and citizens
    of Belgrade. Jelena Hristodulo, chair of the Steering board of the
    teachers' branch outlined their key demands:

        1. that all overdue wages be payed

        2. that Serbian Minister for Education, Dragoslav Mladenovic,

        3. that Employment regulations be changed.

    Ms. Hristodulo announced that teachers throughout Serbia would
    strike unless their demands were met by January 21 and that
    ``public protest lessons'' would be held daily in Belgrade's
    Republic Square.

    The teachers gave sent their full support to student and Zajedno

    After their public lesson, the teachers marched along Knez
    Mihajlova Street. But that walk was stopped by riot police at the
    junction of Knez Mihajlova and 7. Jula Street. The teachers then
    joined the protest meeting of the coalition Zajedno.


    The campaign to drown our the noise of the state television's
    prime time news bulletin continued Saturday. Banging drums, or any
    other make-shift noise-making instrument, was accompanied by
    citizen walks through their neighbourhoods. The residents of
    Senjak made their bit of noise on Saturday by ringing the
    interphone of Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic's home
    in their neighbourhood. They were disappointed to find nobody at


    Some 2,000 Serbs and Montenegrins gathered on Sataurday in central
    Pristina to protest Friday's assassination attempt on Radivoj
    Papovic, Chancellor of the University of Pristina.

    Mr. Simic, Mayor of Pristina, was the first to address the crowd.
    He described the attempted assassination as one in a series of
    attempts to destabilize Serbia. ``Albanian extremists and
    separatists who openly promote the secession of Kosovo and
    Metohija, while pretending to be peace-makers, democrats in front
    of the international community and support the opposition protests
    in Serbia, are actually carrying out the worst political terrorism
    and ethnic cleansing here,'' Simic said.

    Mr. Simic also accused the opposition and students demonstrating
    in the Serbian capital of colluding with Albania and the
    international community to destroy Serbia.

    Danijela Dimic, Vice-President of the Kosovo branch of the
    Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), also addressed the crowd, but as
    a student.

    Ms. Dimic said that there was a link between the latest terrorist
    actions in Kosovo and demonstrations in Belgrade and condemned
    both actions as organized from abroad and aimed at breaking

    Immediately after the protest meeting ended, the Student Alliance
    of the University of Pristina distanced itself from her statement.
    Zivojin Rakocevic, head of the Student Alliance of the UofP, said
    Dimic had no right to speak in the name of the students of the
    UofP. ``Our position is that Serbian people in Kosovo must be
    secure but without any political interference and without turning
    somebody else's misfortune to another person's advantage.''

    Mr. Rakocevic also said that they supported the process of
    democratization in Serbia and that demonstrations in Belgrade and
    other cities in Serbia were by no means destructive.

    ``The position of the Student Alliance's was full support to all
    who wish to live peacefully and democratically in a country where
    there will be neither terrorism nor any distortions of the truth,
    and truth has certainly been endangered in Serbia in the last
    couple of months,'' said Rakocevic.

    An investigation into the attempted assassination is under way.
    Teaching in the University of Pristina has been stopped until
    further notice.


    AP Belgrade reported that Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan
    Milutinovic had met with U.N. Special Envoy for Human Rights
    Elizabeth Rhen on Saturday.

    Minister Milutinovic informed Special Envoy Rhen that the students
    of the UofB had been paid to protest by foreign powers, whose aim
    it was to destabilize Serbia, reports for FoNet Slobodan Pavlovic.

    Meanwhile The U.S. have been reserved in further responses to the
    situation in Serbia, waiting for the term of appeal against the
    Belgrade Electoral Commission's decision to recognize opposition
    victory to expire.

    Representative of the State Department, Nicholas Burns, stated
    Saturday that President Milosevic was continuing to play his old
    tricks. Mr. Burns said President Milosevic did not seem to realize
    that the international community demanded the unconditional and
    immediate appointment of opposition representatives to their
    rightful posts in local government.

    The State Department concluded that the U.S. and Europe were
    united in their intention to maintain pressure on President
    Milosevic until he fulfilled the demands of the Gonzalez report.


    Russian independent tv network NTV reported that recent stories
    about divisions in the ruling Socialist Party and the readiness of
    the Serbian authorities to gratify the demands of protests for
    democracy had proved hasty.

    Russian newspaper 'Sevodnia' said demonstrators will keep to the
    streets until they succeed in securing free access to the media
    and finally toppling Milosevic.


    The news of the day on German Television Saturday was Saturday's
    meeting between German Foreign Minister Claus Kinkel and Serbian
    opposition leader Zoran Djindic.

    This was taken by opposition as a clear sign that the German media
    ascribe huge importance to Djindjic's visit. Djindjic will return
    to Belgrade after discussions on Sunday.


    A commentary in the Sunday issue of the Czech daily 'Mlada Fronta
    -- Dnes' noted the growing international standing of the
    opposition leaders in Serbia. It, however, expressed doubt about
    the success of their struggle.

    ``The protests, regardless of their power, remain for the most
    part limited to the [Serbian] capital. In the whole course of the
    protest, a general strike was not staged in Serbia. All in all, it
    is a minority rather than majority of the 10m Serbian inhabitants
    that express their opposition to the regime,'' read the

    The commentary stated that opposition is now, after its victory
    has been recognized in Belgrade and Nis, (sic) at a cross-roads:
    whether to risk defeat by persisting in its demands (if the turn-
    out for their daily protest decreases), or to capitalize on what
    has been achieved so far and re-direct its efforts towards the
    forthcoming presidential elections. ``Whatever the case, the
    oppostion [in Serbia] has shown for the first time that it is not
    a marginal group Milosevic can use to brag abroad that he runs a
    democratic country,'' the commentary concluded.

    NB. Note from the Editor. The information that 'Mlada Fronta' cite
    concerning recognition of opposition wins in Belgrade and Nis is
    incorrect. Belgrade demonstrators were still waiting Saturday to
    hear whether or not the Socialist Party had appealed the ambiguous
    decision of local electoral commissions on Tuesday.


    Protests at the cancellation of opposition wins in the second
    round of local elections continue in cities throughout Serbia. On
    Saturday, protest meetings were held, among others in Jagodina,
    Kragujevac, Becej, Kraljevo, Svilajnac and Nis.

    Only demonstrators in Kraljevo had the privilege of going on an
    unimpeded march. No incidents with the police were reported in
    other protesting cities.


    Students of the University of Nis ended their usual march though
    the streets of Nis on Saturday in front of TV Nais, the so-called
    first independend television station in Nis. Student
    representatives presented the general manager of TV Nais with an
    used TV set.

    That present was meant to convey the students' gratitude for the
    opening of a channel for the free flow of information through this
    tv station. The students stressed the importance of this in
    encouraging the citizens of Nis to keep up their struggle.

    Students of UofN have scheduled an evening march for Sunday and
    invited the citizens of Nis to join them.


    A panel of independent media representatives, organized by the
    International Federation of Journalists, began in Zagreb Saturday.

    The panel has over one hundred participants -- journalists for the
    independent media in the region of the former Yugoslavia, reported
    FoNet's Zoran Sekulic.

    One of the panel's preliminary conclusions was that there will be
    no lasting peace in South-Eastern Europe without further
    development of democracy, respect for the human rights and the
    freedom of the media.

    Participants agreed that there is a huge pressure on the
    independent media in their respective countries.

    Sasa Markovic, General Manager of Belgrade's Radio B92, stressed
    the importance of local media for the free flow of information.

    Senad Pecanin, Editor of Sarajevo weekly 'Nasi Dani', warned that
    the Croat state television and Radio Television Serbia have
    invaded the media space of Bosnia Herzegovina. He reported that
    the frist contacts between the independent media in Federation of
    Bosnia Herzegovina and Republic of Srpska have been established.

    Viktor Ivanic, from the Split newspaper Feral Tribune, warned that
    independend media faced a difficult time in Croatia following the
    introduction of the Law on Verbal Delict. Croatia suffers a
    deficit of foreign enemies, so the government is looking for
    enemies within, he specified.


    MEP Doris Pack visited Banja Luka on Saturday, newsagency SRNA
    reportes. During her stay, Ms. Pack met with members of the
    Association of Families of Missing and Captured Fighters and
    Civilians of the Republic of Srpska (RS).

    The association representatives informed her that there have been
    1,004 Serb fighters and several thousand of civilians reported
    missing. Ms. Pack confirmend that there are 13 Serb captives in
    prisons in Split, Croatia and that their release is being


    The International Tribunal for War Crimes in former Yugoslavia has
    postponed the beginning of Zejnil Delalic, Hasim Delic, Esad
    Landic and Zdravko Mucic's trials until March 10. The four Muslims
    are indicted for murder and torture against Serbs in the detention
    camp of Celebic, central Bosnia, reports AFP. The postponement was
    granted on the request of the defence who demanded more time to
    prepare their cases.


    Presidency of Bosnia Herzegovina announced Sunday that the U.S.
    have offered assurances that they do not favour the Bosnian Serbs
    in arbitration over Brcko, reported AFP.


    Chair of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC),
    Cornelio Somaruga, told a press conference in Banja Luka Sunday
    that increased ammounts of aid would be sent to 'Republica Srpska'
    (RS), reported the RS newsagency SRNA.

    Somaruga said that most of the aid sent by the international
    organizations went mainly to the Federation of Bosnia Herzegovina.
    The ICRC will, therefore, send a larger part of its future aid
    supplies to the elderly, disabled and refugees in the RS.

    Somaruga stated that there have been 18,000 registered missing
    persons out of which 1,800 are sought by the RS and 13,100 by the
    Federation of Bosnia Herzegovina. He warned that ``the exchange of
    corpses would no longer be tolerated and rejected all allegations
    that there were secret prisons in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    Somaruga met RS President Biljana Plavsic on Saturday. Mrs.
    Plavsic stressed that the ICRC must keep up the pressure on
    politicians in order to solve the problem of missing and captured

    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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