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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 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.

    NEWS BY 4 PM


    At Terazije, the downtown square in Belgrade where the rally of
    Milosevic's supporters was about to be held, clashes erupted
    between Milosevic's supporters and the opposition protesters.
    Further clashes were stopped by the police forces. Several severe
    fist-fights broke out between two parties, as Milosevic's pictures
    were being torn and burned. Police did not intervene for quite a
    long time, and when the situation threatened to slip out of
    control, police appeared on the scene and interposed themselves
    between the two parties. Radio B92 reports that security people of
    both parties are trying to calm the crowds, but stones and sticks
    are sill flying over their heads. The pro-Milosevic counter-rally
    deeply provoked the protesters who had been demonstrating in
    Belgrade for more than a month. The opposition rally was announced
    for 3 PM, as usual, and is to beheld just a few hundred meters
    from Terazije. The state-run Radio Belgrade reported that the
    atmosphere at the pro-Milosevic rally is magnificent and that more
    than 200,000 people from all over the Serbia have already arrived
    there. At the same time, the Republic Square, set aside for the
    opposition rally, is already too crowded: witnesses report that it
    is too small to hold all the supporters of Zajedno who came there


    A serious incident was pre-empted today about 1 p.m. in front of
    the building of the Serbian Parliament, when the pro-Milosevic
    crowd came into close contact with the opposition crowd. They
    exchanged loud verbal abuses, but the opposition security people,
    with the help of several policemen, stopped the fight that was on
    the verge of breaking out. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of
    Milosevic's supporters and an equal number of their opponents
    gathered on the city's square of Terazije. They were throwing
    eggs, sticks and stones at each other.


    The spokesman of the Yugoslav Left, Aleksandar Vulin, gave a
    statement for Radio B92 around 2 p.m., saying that the police were
    not present at Terazije, because they did not expect any
    incidents. He said that he hoped the police would separate the two
    crowds -- Milosevic's supporters and the supporters of the
    coalition Zajedno. He also said: ``If there is a wish for
    democracy, it should remain: everything else would lead to a civil
    war.'' Vulin also said that the organizers of the pro-Milosevic
    rally will not consider postponing it.


    Socialist MP, Radmilo Bogdanovic said today that the staging of a
    meeting in support of Slobodan Milosevic at the same place and
    time where throughout the past month Zajedno has been holding its
    protests presents no danger. ``Why would it be dangerous? Why
    would there arise any problems, we have let them march
    unmolested,'' said the former interior minister to Radio B92.
    Asked whether police forces should be placed between the two
    groups of protesters -- Milosevic's and Zajedno's supporters --
    Bogdanovic said that ``the police need not separate sensible
    people.''  His assessment was that ``all will end well.''


    Socialist MP, Radovan Radovic confirmed to Radio B92 that the
    Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) is the organizer of today's
    meeting in support of Slobodan Milosevic and that the coalition
    Zajedno had better simply vanish. ``Our organization is bigger for
    we have the larger membership,'' he said. Asked whether it is
    possible that the meeting in support of Milosevic be canceled, he
    said this was out of the question. ``Should we cancel [the
    meeting] in order to let you march?'' he replied. He believes that
    the simultaneous meetings of Milosevic's and Zajedno's supporters
    ``need not be dangerous, necessarily, for our supporters are
    sensible people.''


    According to the reports we have had from the streets, there has
    been an incident in Knez Mihajlova Street, in downtown Belgrade.
    One elderly man has been wounded after a shot was fired from a
    group of demonstrators from Vrbas carrying Milosevic's pictures.


    There have been a number of small clashes in the Terazije Square
    after 1 p.m. The Zajedno security people are trying to take the
    heat out of the situation for there have been no police forces
    around. Zoran Djindjic, leader of the Democratic Party, has come
    himself to the square and has called on the Zajedno supporters to
    go to the nearby Republika Square. The column of student
    protesters has blocked several buses of Milosevic's supporters
    near the French Embassy. One of the bus drivers headed his vehicle
    through the column and hit a student. The people on the spot
    hurled sticks, eggs, water bottles, onions and lemons at each
    other. Central Belgrade is echoing with shouts and jeering.


    Leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement, Vuk Draskovic urged the
    citizens to be sensible today. In a statement given to Radio B92,
    Draskovic called on the Zajedno supporters to go out on the
    Republika Square and the adjacent streets at 3 p.m. in as great
    numbers as possible. They are to go on their usual march through
    Belgrade streets. Draskovic stressed that the route for today's
    march will not be announced beforehand, but that every step will
    be taken to avert any physical contact between Zajedno protesters
    and ``these unfortunate people, the slaves Milosevic has brought
    to back his electoral theft.''

    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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