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Protests in Serbia Archive
Odraz B92 Daily News Service

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    Odraz B92 vesti (by 4 PM), December 23, 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 4 PM


    The information service of the Belgrade Socialist Party
    headquarters told Radio B92 this morning that this party will not
    organize any counter-rally of its supporters in Belgrade. ``The
    posters which have appeared in some parts of Belgrade calling
    citizens to turn out tomorrow noon on the Republic Square in
    support of Slobodan Milosevic were not put up by the Socialist
    Party of Serbia (SPS),'' the SPS information service stressed.

    However, our newsroom has received information to the contrary --
    that a counter-rally will be staged tomorrow, at 3 p.m. instead of
    at noon, to coincide with the time when the supporters of Zajedno
    coalition are to gather for their daily protest. Radio B92 has
    learned that 30 buses are to head to Belgrade from Cacak tomorrow.
    The departure time for the Socialist sympathizers of Valjevo, town
    in eastern Serbia, will be announced at today's meeting in support
    of Slobodan Milosevic in this town. A reliable source in the Radio
    Television Serbia (RTS) has also confirmed that the RTS have been
    instructed to prepare a stage and a public address system for the
    rally. They are also to organize a live broadcast of the rally.
    Employees of the Belgrade Bank were informed that their working
    hours will be cut to 10 a.m.  tomorrow, after which time they are
    expected to attend the rally.

    The Democracy Development Fund has sent a fax to Radio B92 saying
    they were contacted by some citizens of Kosovska Mitrovica and
    Novi Pazar saying that political activists belonging to the SPS
    are visiting households and signing up citizens who are expected
    to come to the rally in Belgrade. In return for their attendance,
    they will be provided with daily wages and 3 meals during their
    ``trip.''  50 buses are to head for Belgrade from Sremska
    Mitrovica at 5 a.m. tomorrow, and 10 buses from Novi Pazar at 7
    a.m. The Zajedno coalition Information Service reported that the
    bus drivers employed by the travel agency ``Putnik'' had informed
    them that the agency's manager, Mirjana Stankovic, and the Serbian
    Minister for Tourism have issued orders to send 26 buses to
    Kragujevac at 3 a.m. tomorrow, which are to bring SPS sympathizers
    of this town to Belgrade. All transportation bills will be sent to
    the Serbian Government. Zajedno claims that the employees of the
    ``Srbija Sume,'' a state-owned company, have been ordered to
    organize their attendance at the rally or risk losing their jobs.
    Finally, Radio Belgrade's ``Novosti Dana'' news program confirmed
    that a rally will be staged in downtown Belgrade at 3 p.m.
    tomorrow in support of Slobodan Milosevic. The organizer is the
    Rally Board of Serbia.


    A statement by the Zajedno coalition said today that the
    management of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) has issued
    orders to all state-owned company managers to organize arrival of
    their employees to a rally in support of Slobodan Milosevic,
    scheduled to take place in Belgrade's Republic Square Tuesday,
    Dec. 24, at 3 p.m. As information continues to pour in from all
    over Serbia, Zajedno has learned that that all employees of state-
    owned companies have been threatened with summary dismissal if
    they fail to show up for the SPS rally. ``Zajedno believes that
    every party has the right to organize its rallies. We want to
    know, however, the source of SPS funds for its rallies,'' said the
    statement. ``The counter-rallies show not only that the SPS is
    spending public money but that it also wants to provoke clashes in
    Serbia by engendering hatred among Serbian people and chauvinistic
    feelings towards the rest of the world,'' concluded the statement.
    The SPS Information Service told some of the Belgrade media that
    the SPS is not -- categorically not -- organizing any rallies in
    Belgrade tomorrow.


    Dozens of thousands of students attended the 33rd student protest
    at the nullification of the local electoral results in front of
    the School of Philosophy today. Today's protest began with a hymn
    to St. Sava [Serbian patron saint of schools] followed by a public
    reading of the letter Patriarch Pavle, head of Serbian Orthodox
    Church, has sent to the University of Belgrade students. After an
    address by several prominent university professors, the students
    went for their protest march through Belgrade streets.


    The Serbian Patriarch, His Holiness Pavle sent a letter of support
    today to the UofB students who have been protesting peacefully for
    over a month now. ``It is good to see that you are expressing your
    commitment to high ideals in a peaceful and dignified manner,
    which is not always characteristic of youth when it goes out to
    express itself en masse,'' the letter stressed. ``The burden of
    the misfortunes that [occurred] in the course of the [recent]
    civil war is such that it has weighed heavily on the whole of the
    people as well as on you, the youth. It has awakened you to
    question your goal in life, to question the meaning of death, to
    ponder the distinction between human and inhuman actions. Your
    attitude, evangelical and humane, is supported and blessed by the
    Serbian Orthodox Church,'' was Patriarch's message to the students
    of the UofB.


    Western diplomatic sources claim that the fact-finding mission of
    the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
    which visited Belgrade over the last weekend has found that the
    local electoral results were in fact altered to the benefit of the
    ruling Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), reports AFP.  Sources
    close to the OSCE mission claim that it has concluded that the
    election results were re-tailored in 14 major cities in Serbia
    expressly to the disadvantage of the coalition Zajedno. Felipe
    Gonzalez, head of the OSCE mission to Belgrade, is expected to
    hand in his report to the OSCE chairman within a week. AFP reports
    that the members of the delegation are fully aware that the issue
    of elections is an internal affair of Serbia and that this report
    can be filed only as a recommendation. Other sources close to
    Gonzalez's team told AFP that the opposition parties in Serbia
    have been victims of a ``juridical conspiracy.'' These sources
    claim that Gonzalez hopes the OSCE's task will extend from the
    issue at hand to helping further the democratic process in Serbia.
    They stress that Gonzalez took his mission as a defense of
    democratic principles rather than of the opposition itself, and
    that there is some indication the Serbian authorities are
    beginning to realize that they will have to introduce some


    In an interview published in today's issue of the German daily
    ``Berliner Zeitung,'' Zoran Djindjic, leader of the Democratic
    Party (DS), said: ``His [Milosevic's] position is so weakened, the
    problems in the country have accumulated to such an extent, that
    he is left with only one choice: resignation.''


    15,000 Nisans turned out yesterday for their 35th consecutive
    protest meeting. Mihajlo Kovac was among the speakers who received
    the crowd's loudest cheers. He is one of the group of highly
    acclaimed journalists who had once worked for Radio Television
    Serbia but were either sacked or left the state-owned media
    themselves. Speaking about journalism, he said: ``I said what I
    think about the media [in Serbia] 5 years ago when I had to choose
    between personal honor and serving an undemocratic and dishonest
    regime... I chose my personal dignity, my family's reputation and
    the respect of my posterity. If one has a grain of reason and ten
    diligent fingers, one should turn one's back on those thieves and
    liars -- you won't perish.''  Going back to the protest of March
    9th, 1991, he said: ``The RTS general manager convened a meeting
    of his fawns and sycophants that night to decide how to inform
    Serbia on the event, to describe it as an outburst of the forces
    of chaos and unreason rather than as a justified popular protest.
    The then general manager closed the meeting promising that the
    management would stay with the situation right to its bitter end.
    It is wise to learn from one's opponents sometimes. So this is my
    message to you: ''These boots are made for walking. ``  The Nis
    protesters have 3 more days to go to break the world record in
    non-violent demonstrations.


    The farmers who mounted roadblocks throughout Vojvodina, Serbia's
    northern province, demand that all delivered farm produce be paid
    out to them with an interest rate on the delay period added to the
    original amount. The farmers are determined to let no one through
    except ambulances.

    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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