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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), December 12, 1996

    e-mail: beograd@siicom.com      URL: http://www.siicom.com/odrazb/
            odrazb92@b92.opennet.org     http://www.siicom.com/b92/
    All texts are Copyright 1996 Radio B92. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

    NEWS BY 11 PM


    Press observers in Washington, reports ``Nasa Borba'' corespondent
    Slobodan Pavlovic, have noted an unusual degree of consensus among
    Congress democrats and republicans on the question of the US
    response to the current situation in Serbia. This exceptionally
    firm bipartisan approach was also in evidence today, when the
    Congressional Human Rights Watch Committee held a meeting in
    Washington with some opposition representatives from Belgrade. The
    guests from Belgrade, vice-president of the Democratic Party,
    Miodrag Perisic, President of the Independent Unions of Serbia,
    Branislav Canak, B92's Editor-In-Chief, Veran Matic and
    representative of the Washington Institute for International
    Research Obrad Kesic received the committee's full support for the
    calls by the opposition in Belgrade that the US drop its
    initiative for a reimposition of economic sanctions on Yugoslavia.
    The congressional committee promised instead to apply, in co-
    operation with their European partners, ``targeted sanctions''
    towards Milosevic, his family and a group of his closest aides.
    These selective sanctions would freeze all their property abroad
    and deny them entry to other countries until a full investigation
    of their personal business dealings abroad is carried out and
    until Milosevic and his political partners fulfill the demands of
    demonstrators throughout Serbia.


    Some 100,000 demonstrators turned out today to protest the
    annulment of the electoral results. Today's rally was marked by
    renewed, non-violent defiance of the regime: its symbol of protest
    was, once again, a life-size effigy of Slobodan Milosevic dressed
    in prison garb, the effigy for which one of the demonstrators was
    severely beaten by the police several days ago and is now serving
    a prison sentence in exceptionally harsh conditions.

    Addressing the demonstrators, leader of the Serbian Renewal
    Movement (SPO), Vuk Draskovic strongly condemned the beatings and
    arrests of the demonstrators, calling on members of the police and
    the army to join the protests. ``We are faced with a choice from
    which there is no retreat: either Serbia or Milosevic will have to
    resign,'' said Draskovic, while emphasizing the need for utmost
    circumspection and vigilance on the side of the protesters.
    Talking about the police brutality and the beatings of Dejan
    Bulatovic and actor Gojko Baletic, who has since been freed after
    suffering a severe beating while in police custody last night,
    Draskovic said: ``right from the very top of the pyramid of evil
    and terror [in this country] a decision has just been made to
    arrest and torture a few people every day, in the hope that as we
    make known the fate of these demonstrators, others will take
    fright and desist. Our response is: we shall not succumb to fear.
    Let it be known, publicly, that we do have the names of all those
    who have been giving such orders and all those who have been
    carrying them out. There will be no pardon for them,'' Draskovic

    Leader of the Democratic Party (DS), Zoran Djindjic said the
    coalition would not negotiate on basic democratic principles or
    its demand for the recognition of the results of the second
    electoral round. He particularly stressed that Slobodan Milosevic
    had personally sprung the trap in which he now finds himself and
    added: ``there are calls from everywhere urging us to help him
    find a way out of this trap, but our response is that we never
    encouraged him to get stuck in it in the first place.''

    Leader of the Civic Alliance of Serbia (GSS), Vesna Pesic began
    her speech by reminding the demonstrators that ``democracy is not
    the rule of the best, nor of the worst: it is the rule of those
    chosen by the people and for the people. It is our misfortune that
    now we are being ruled by the worst.''  Vesna Pesic went on to say
    that the voters of Serbia ``have at last lifted up their heads and
    are demanding nothing more or less than the right to choose who is
    in power and the right to have a government which is answerable to
    its electorate.''


    Yugoslav authorities have not granted a visa to Daniel Con-
    Benedict, member of the EU Parliament, who has been planning to
    visit Belgrade as part of his work on a report about co-operation
    in the region, said a statement by the EU Parliament today.
    ``Denial of entry to an MP of the European Union is a blatant
    insult to our institution,'' commented Con-Benedict, who is also
    the leader of Germany's Green Party and former leader of the 1968
    student demonstrations in France. ``Shutting one's doors has never
    proved to be a solution to anything,'' Daniel Con-Benedict went on
    to say, and in this case ``the gesture speaks plainly of what the
    official Belgrade really thinks on the question of regional co-
    operation.''  The leader of the German Greens pointed out that he
    is not the only prominent European who has been turned away by
    Yugoslav authorities. Con-Benedict named a number of French
    intellectuals, including two former ministers of state, who have
    also had their visa requests turned down by Belgrade.


    Montenegrin authorities urged Serbian President Milosevic to take
    immediate steps to solve the political crisis that has arisen from
    the annulment of electoral results, reported AFP.  An unnamed
    spokesman of the Montenegrin President said Montenegro was gravely
    concerned about the fact that Serbia is risking ``unpredictable
    consequences'' on its territory.


    Some 15,000 protesters gathered both in Nis and in Valjevo today
    demanding acknowledgment of electoral results and freedom of the
    press. In Kragujevac, union members joined the protest in support
    of the Belgrade demonstrations. Protests were also staged in
    Kraljevo, Pancevo, Lazarevac and Smederevska Palanka, where the
    two thousand assembled celebrated the Supreme Court ruling which
    overturned a decision by the municipal court and thus returned the
    electoral victory in this town to coalition Zajedno.


    Russian media estimated today that Serbia is facing even greater
    isolation than that of the economic sanctions brought against it
    for its participation in the recent conflicts in the Balkans. If
    its president disregards the warnings and the pressure by the
    international community, Serbia could be worse off than in the
    last five years. Russian television NTV, however, sees some was
    hope for Yugoslavia now that Milosevic has been warned even by his
    own coalition partners that the people's will was beyond the will
    of one political leadership.


    In the past week, several major European and American cities have
    been hosts to solidarity rallies organized in support of the
    democratization demands made by the protesters and coalition
    Zajedno in Serbia. The non-governmental organization HOST
    [Movement for Civic Solidarity and Tolerance] held a protest
    meeting in Prague at which was read a public petition demanding
    that the authorities in FR Yugoslavia ``practice restraint and
    forebear from any use of force in their search for a solution to
    the present situation in Serbia.'' Similar protests were held
    earlier this week in London, New York and other cities around the

    Prepared by: Aleksandra Scepanovic
    Edited by: Vaska Andjelkovic (Tumir)

    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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