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Protests in Serbia Archive
Odraz B92 Daily News Service

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    Odraz B92 vesti (by 1 PM), December 24, 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.



    The information office of the Ministry of the Interior confirmed
    today that the mass rally in support of Slobodan Milosevic
    scheduled to take place in Belgrade today is being organized by
    the SPS [ruling party's] City Board.

    Responding to the Student Protest '96 query about the possible
    problems arising from the simultaneous holding of student and pro-
    government rallies in Belgrade, the same office of the Ministry of
    the Interior responded thus, by fax: ``Given the fact that you
    have not announced a public rally for Dec. 24, 1996, the law
    regulating public assemblies does not grant you any official
    status...  Concerning this matter, therefore, the interest you
    have expressed about the place and time set aside for the public
    meetings scheduled for today [in Belgrade] is without any legal

    By now, as on each of the previous 32 days, there are already
    several thousand students gathered in front of the School of
    Philosophy in Belgrade.


    Zoran Djindjic, head of the Democratic Party, said this morning
    that the planned counter-demonstration by Milosevic's supporters
    looks ``curioser and curioser'' by the hour. ``It presents us with
    a truly mysterious set of circumstances,'' said Djindjic, ``since
    neither its organizer nor its aims have been made public.''
    Djindjic went on to tell Radio B92 that Milosevic seems to be at
    the end of his tether, and is trying to create the conditions
    which would allow him to impose a state of emergency on Belgrade,
    if not the whole of Serbia, too. He estimates that Milosevic's
    tactic is to try everything within his power to sideline the whole
    issue of electoral fraud. ``We have no reason to bite the hook
    he's baiting us with, nor to give any pretext to the authorities
    to call a state of emergency,'' added Djindjic. Since the pro-
    government rally has been scheduled to take place at Terazije, a
    major Belgrade square, the Zajedno opposition coalition will hold
    its public rally at the Republic Square. Djindjic emphasized that
    Zajedno supporters will keep well away from the pro-Milosevic


    Several thousand government supporters who have already arrived in
    Belgrade for this afternoon's rally assembled around noon today at
    the Republic Square. They were quickly surrounded by thousands of
    Belgraders with whom they proceeded to exchange verbal abuse -- so
    far without any violent incidents, however. At the Terazije
    Square, from the seat of the Democratic Party, passers-by are
    being showered with leaflets of the coalition Zajedno.

    Also at Terazije, some Zajedno supporters got hold of a rally
    banner with a picture of Milosevic on it and have now burnt it in
    protest. Just before 1 p.m., a series of minor incidents took
    place at the same square, as both Zajedno supporters and those
    gathered for the pro-government rally began pelting each other
    with fruit and vegetables.


    Headmaster of a primary school in downtown Belgrade has ordered
    all classes canceled and sent the schoolchildren back to their
    homes with the instructions to attend this afternoon's pro-
    government rally at Terazije Square, reports the Zajedno
    Information Service. The same source also reports that it has
    received information from Belgrade postal workers who say that
    Milorad Jaksic, CEO of the Serbian postal corporation, has ordered
    all employees of this state-owned company to attend the pro-
    Milosevic demonstrations today. ``We are receiving numerous calls
    from the citizens of Belgrade who are telling us that they have
    been threatened with summary dismissal by their supervisors and
    company CEOs if they fail to show up for the SPS rally this
    afternoon,'' reports coalition Zajedno's Information Service.


    Slobodan Vuksanovic, press representative for the Democratic
    Party, told Radio B92 today that the Democratic Party is urging
    all those who have been attending Zajedno rallies and
    participating in opposition walkabouts in Belgrade for the last 35
    days to at all costs keep their distance from the crowds who will
    be participating in the pro-government rally at Terazije Square.

    ``There will be no incidents. We are committed to non-violence and
    we will avoid all contact with those attending the Terazije
    rally,'' Slobodan Vuksanovic told Radio B92.


    Once again, according to a Reuters report late last night, the US
    has warned the authorities in Belgrade not to use force against
    their opponents, who have been demonstrating in the capital of
    Serbia and demanding the restoration of the original local
    election results.

    Reuters reports that a representative of the State Department has
    called on official Belgrade to focus its attention on solving the
    political crisis caused by the annulment of the opposition's
    electoral victory on November 17, and to cease encouraging actions
    which could result in street clashes. The State Department reminds
    Milosevic that it has repeatedly warned him that any attempt at a
    violent clamp-down would leave Serbia even more isolated

    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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