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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), December 18, 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 9 PM


    Today's attempt of UofB students [their third so far] to take
    their protest walk to the streets of Dedinje failed. Students
    headed to this elite Belgrade area where Slobodan Milosevic also
    resides in response to yesterday's statement by the Serbian
    minister of interior Zoran Sokolovic that police never stopped
    them from entering Dedinje in the first place. In the two previous
    attempts, the students were barred from proceeding any further by
    cordons of heavily armed police stationed in the Knez Milos
    Street. Some 20,000 students were today again stopped in the same
    manner at another Belgrade intersection. The police message was
    again the same: ``This is as far as you may go.'' The students
    reacted to this by putting a two-meter ``pyramid'' in front of the
    police cordon, with an inscription on it saying ``Dedinje: The
    Forbidden City.''

    ``We will measure out the borders of the Forbidden City in the
    forthcoming days'' said Dusan Vasiljevic, spokesman for the
    Steering Board of Student Protest '96, adding that students have
    proved today that freedom of movement, guaranteed by the Serbian
    constitution, is no longer available to ordinary citizens of


    Today's run of ``Nedeljni Telegraf'' [Weekly Telegraph] carries an
    article about the confusion among the top army ranks who are
    divided on the issue of how to position themselves in the current,
    and so far non-violent conflict between the regime and its
    opponents. The article reports that SPS, the ruling party headed
    by Slobodan Milosevic, has been putting increasing pressure on the
    top generals of the Yugoslav army to declare themselves openly and
    make a stand on the situation in Serbia. The same article also
    adds that, according to the weekly's sources inside the Yugoslav
    army, its commanding officers have been resisting this pressure so
    far with the support of army's top brass.

    At the same time, reports ``Nedeljni Telegraf,'' a considerable
    number of officers have defied army orders and have been
    participating in street protests in Belgrade, Nis, Pirot,
    Kragujevac, Kraljevo, Cacak and Uzice.

    Faced with serious breaches of discipline, the Defense Council
    held an extraordinary session on December 10, at which lieutenant-
    general Momcilo Perisic, commander-in-chief at the Army
    Headquarters, was asked to visit all army units and hold top-level
    meetings with their commanding officers in an effort to prevent
    any future officer participation in the protests. ``Nedeljni
    Telegraf'' reports that lieutenant-general Perisic was explicitly
    asked to elaborate on the present state of the Yugoslav army and
    give his personal evaluation of how the army would be likely to
    respond if asked to intervene and repress the current wave of
    opposition protests in Serbia.

    According to the sources quoted in the article, Perisic assured
    the Defense Council that the army has been put on the alert and is
    currently in the state of battle preparedness in all larger towns
    and cities in Serbia. He added, however, that in all probability
    it would respond only in case FR Yugoslavia came under attack by a
    foreign power.

    The Belgrade weekly emphasizes that the Defense Council session
    ended in an atmosphere of ambiguity and ambivalence, with most of
    the questions left hanging in the air. It also reports that Momir
    Bulatovic, president of Montenegro, closed the session with an
    appeal to Slobodan Milosevic not to involve the army in any
    attempt to repress popular discontent. None of those present,
    concludes ``Nedeljni Telegraf,'' including Zoran Lilic, Slobodan
    Milosevic, Pavle Bulatovic and Momcilo Perisic, responded to Momir
    Bulatovic's appeal.


    Ten students of the University in Kragujevac left Kragujevac for
    Belgrade this morning. The students, who are on a solidarity march
    to express support for their UofB counterparts, are expected to
    arrive in Belgrade at noon tomorrow. They will also attempt to
    hand in their letter of protest to Slobodan Milosevic, asking him
    to address them in public. The distance students from Kragujevac
    will have to walk is 125 kilometers.


    The 29th day of protests by supporters of Zajedno began in
    Belgrade at 3 p.m. today. Today's itinerary was announced as
    starting from the Square of the Republic; the demonstrators are
    expected to pass by the embassies of the USA and the Russian
    Federation. Further details on today's demonstrations will be
    available in the next B92 news bulletin.


    In Smederevska Palanska and Sremska Mitrovica, supporters of the
    left coalition staged a 'meeting in support' of Slobodan
    Milosevic. Similar meetings are announced to take place in
    Krusevac tomorrow starting from 3 p.m. and, according to head of
    the Pirot Serbian Socialist Party Momcilo Cvetkovic in Pirot on
    Saturday, December 21. Glorija Klepic from Novi Knezevac, a
    participant of the 'meeting in support' of President Milosevic in
    Sremska Mitrovica said to B92 today: ``Several thousands of people
    participated in this meeting today. I believe this message to be
    the right one -- that peace needs to be preserved. My son is a
    student. I visited him in Novi Sad and saw the ones who were
    demonstrating. This youth is being manipulated. And that's the
    greatest shame.''


    Coalition Zajedno accepted today the decision by OSCE to send a
    team to FR Yugoslavia consisting of prominent international
    politicians, diplomats and legal experts who are to examine the
    regularity of local elections in Serbia. ``Democratic Coalition
    Zajedno expects the conclusions of the OSCE mission to be obeyed
    by the Serbian authorities,'' said Zajedno. Zajedno added that
    they would refuse any sort of political dialogue with Slobodan
    Milosevic for as long as the November 17 results are not
    acknowledged throughout Serbia. ``Should Slobodan Milosevic fail
    to acknowledge the will of the citizens as expressed in the
    elections held on November 17, protests and other forms of civic
    disobedience will continue until he resigns,'' added Zajedno.


    Vice-president of the Serbian Democratic Party Zoran Zivkovic
    expressed his gratitude to the group of 17 students from Nis who
    walked from Nis to Belgrade and had a meeting with Slobodan
    Milosevic earlier this week. According to Zivkovic, Milosevic must
    have thought he could charm his way around the delegation from Nis
    and carry off the meeting by sheer force of his personality.
    Zivkovic added that Milosevic's gesture, his contemptuous tossing
    away of the electoral minutes from Nis brought to him by UofN
    students, speaks plainly of what he thinks about electoral fraud.


    On December 23, farmers in Vojvodina, Serbia's bread basket, will
    start their boycott of food processing factories which have not
    paid for the agricultural produce bought and delivered so far,
    announced Serbian Independent Trade Union of Farmers today.

    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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