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Protests in Serbia Archive
Odraz B92 Daily News Service

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service

    Odraz B92 vesti (by 10 PM), January 20, 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.

    NEWS BY 10 PM


    The EU on Monday issued a statement demanding that the Serbian
    government urgently, fully and unconditionally implement all
    recommendations of the OSCE's Gonzalez report. The statement
    specified that this included recognition of the November electoral
    results as well as the opening of a dialogue with the opposition
    on democratisation, media freedom, a non-political judiciary and
    electoral reform. EU Ministerial Council Chair Hans van Mirlo
    announced on Monday that the EU will continue to pressure the
    Serbian Government until it meets these demands. He also said that
    the EU will continue to investigate alternative measures to
    support Serbia's democratisation. This would include further
    developing contacts with Serbian opposition leaders in order to
    determine their position on the issue of Kosovo and seek possible
    solutions. The Council's statement called for a solution which
    would guarantee Kosovo a broad autonomy within the Federal
    Republic of Yugoslavia.

    Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini, speaking after the Council
    meeting, told reporters that Europe's foreign ministers had
    expressed grave concern over the possible escalation of tension in
    Serbia and its spread to Kosovo and perhaps even Bosnia. Austrian
    Foreign Minister Chiesl expressed concern that Serbian President
    Slobodan Milosevic may attempt to distract attention from his
    problems in Belgrade and other cities by encouraging a renewal of
    Serb nationalism in Kosovo. However German Foreign Minister Klaus
    Kinkel said that no EU member state wanted to see the reimposition
    of international sanctions against Serbia.


    Students from Belgrade University were still facing the police
    cordon in Kolarceva Street at noon on Tuesday, 42 hours after
    their latest action began. During their long vigil they have been
    addressed by a number of actors, journalists, musicians and
    lawyers, as well as University teachers who held a 'protest class'
    in Republic Square at 14.00 hours on Tuesday. Serbian Orthodox
    Patriarch Pavle was greeted with cheers when he told the students
    that they were the future of the country and that people were
    praying for them and for peace. A spokesman for the protesting
    students told journalists on Monday that the student action of
    'blocking the blockade' would continue until riot squad police
    withdraw from the street. He added that members of the Steering
    Committee for Student Protest 96/97 were ready to begin a hunger
    strike if police continue blocking student marches.


    Zajedno leader Zoran Djindjic, addressing tens of thousands of
    Belgraders gathered in Republic Square on Monday, claimed that
    Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic had forged an alliance with
    Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seslj. He described the
    alliance as the opponents of democracy closing ranks. Mr Djindjic
    pointed out that the Radicals had appealed the electoral
    committee's decision, despite the fact that this had given them
    twice the number of seats in local government. He claimed that
    this indicated that Radical leaders were more loyal to the
    Socialists than to their own electoral candidates. Referring to
    news of a planned visit by the leader of the French National Front
    and a possible visit by Russian Communist Party leader Genady
    Zyuganov, he sent a direct message to Serbia's ruling Socialists:
    ``Chinese communists, Russian communists, French fascists: if
    that's all you can find, don't bring them here. We are not yet
    angry, we are still in good spirits as we claw at the walls. At
    the moment our strategy is to laugh at your nonsense. But don't
    imagine that the patience of the people is inexhaustible.''  Mr
    Djindjic stressed that Serbia would need international assistance
    with its economic recovery once it had sorted out its present
    problems. Serbian Renewal Movement leader Vuk Draskovic warned
    that the alliance between Milosevic and Seselj could bring nothing
    but violence and bloodshed, and was thus a threat to the Dayton
    accord. Civil Alliance leader Vesna Pesic urged the crowd to
    continue their protest, stressing that it was not only essential
    to claim the opposition mandates, but also to preserve the
    integrity of the courts and other institutions in Serbia. She
    appealed to the judges of Serbia's courts to follow their
    consciences rather than their orders in making their decisions.


    The German daily Zuiddeutsche Ceitung on Monday warned that
    implementation of the Dayton accords and stabilisation of the
    Balkans was no longer possible with Serbian President Slobodan
    Milosevic as its sponsor. The newspaper was commenting on warnings
    by Serbian opposition coalition Zajedno, that Milosevic may resort
    to mass violence. The German press is generally predicting a shift
    in German relations with Serbia following the recent meeting
    between Zajedno leader Zoran Djindjic and German Foreign Minister
    Klaus Kinkel. Zuiddeutche Ceitung described Mr Djindjic as a
    politician on whom the West could count in its future relations
    with Serbia. ``Djindjic is the kind of politician with whom the
    reintegration of Serbia into Europe will be negotiated once the
    war-monger Milosevic is out of power'' the daily concluded.


    French Foreign Ministry spokesman Jacques Rimmelard claimed on
    Monday that the situation in Belgrade could turn violent. He said
    that this would be the result of continued paralysis of the
    political system as the government refuses to recognise the
    opposition victory in November's local elections. Mr Rimmelard
    said that this risk would exist as long as Belgrade refused to
    implement the recommendations of the OSCE.


    Police intervened to stop a number of demonstrations in Belgrade
    on Monday evening. Eye witnesses reported that one protestor had
    been pushed to the pavement by police and then taken away in an
    ambulance. A Belgrade Urgent Medical Centre spokesman said on
    Tuesday that the centre was treating one seriously injured
    protester. Speaking to Radio B92, 22-year-old Igor Lozinski also
    claimed that police in the central city had twice hit him over the
    head with a baton. Several other demonstrators, including Dejan
    Bulatovic, who was arrested and imprisoned during protests in
    December, were also reported to have been beaten. Police cordons
    assembled in nineteen Belgrade localities to block the scattered
    demonstrations organised by local groups of Belgrade citizens who
    have been marching to or around the centre on recent evenings.
    This action has grown out of the daily noise protest at 19.30 in
    which residents bang saucepans and blow whistles to protest
    against reporting by the state media.


    Belgrade media reported on Monday that the Supreme Court of Serbia
    has awarded victoy to the Socialist Party in local elections inthe
    city of Sabac. The Court disallowed 14 out of 15 Zajedno appeals
    against the results of the second and third round of local
    elections in the city. The decision has confirmed the Socialist
    majority in the already constituted Sabac City Assembly.


    Hague War Crimes Tribunal Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour had talks
    with Muslim-Croat Federation Prime Minister Edhem Bicakcic on
    Monday. This is Ms Arbour's first visit to Bosnia since her
    appointment last year. The agenda for her visit includes meetings
    with members of the Bosnian Presidency, representatives of
    humanitarian organizations and NATO. Ms. Arbour is expected to
    meet with Bosnian Serb leaders in Pale on Tuesday.


    The Governor of Tuzla Canton in Bosnia, Sead Jakaosmanovic,
    demanded on Monday that Russian soldiers in SFOR be replaced by US
    troops. AFP reported on Monday that this demand came after
    Saturday's demolition of a vital bridge near the Russian
    checkpoint. Jakaosmanovic accused Russian soldiers of allowing
    ``Serb terrorists'' to destroy the bridge, which had linked a
    Muslim village with one under Serb control.


    An illegal Albanian organisation know as the Kosovo Liberation
    Army (OAK) on Monday claimed responsibility for Thursday's
    attempted assassination of Pristina University Chancellor Rodivoje
    Papovic. OAK described Mr Papovic as ``an enemy of the Albanian
    people'' and demanded that Serbian authorities withdraw from
    Kosovo, reported AFP on Monday. Mr Papovic is notorious for his
    staunch resistance to the reintegration of Albanian students into
    the University of Pristina as agreed between Serbian President
    Slobodan Milosevic and Kosovo Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova in
    September 1996.


    Belgrade's German Ambassador, Wilfred Gruber, on Monday presented
    the Radio B92 Editor-In-Chief Veran Matic with the Medienhilfe
    award for ``World's best Radio Station of the Year.'' Thanking the
    Ambassador, Mr Matic said: ``We receive it as an award to all
    media who oppose war and struggle for democracy on the territory
    of the former Yugoslavia. This applies especially to those media
    in Serbia and Montenegro who are engaged in the struggle for
    democracy in the present Yugoslavia.''

    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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