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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.



    Dr. Rade Vasilic, physician on duty at the Trauma center in
    Belgrade, has announced that the individual wounded in an incident
    which occurred earlier today in Knez Mihajlova Street in Belgrade,
    arrived at the Trauma Center alive. Dr. Vasilic had no details
    about the identity of the man. Asked if the man had survived the
    gun shot, the physician repeated that ``he arrived at the Trauma
    Center alive.'' Dr. Vasilic added that several other people
    wounded in the Belgrade street clashes this afternoon have arrived
    at the Trauma Center and that they are currently being looked
    after. He could not specify what their injuries were.

    According to the eyewitnesses of today's shooting in downtown
    Belgrade, the incident occurred when the supporters of the Zajedno
    coalition, finding themselves face to face with a group of
    Milosevic' supporters, fanned themselves across the street and
    attempted to block the way of the pro-Milosevic group.


    Several tens of thousands of demonstrators have assembled at the
    Terazije Square for the rally organized by the ruling party of
    Serbia. The state-owned media, in particular the RTS, are covering
    this rally live and reporting that the meeting has attracted about
    half a million people.

    There are over 200,000 participants currently gathered for the
    Zajedno coalition rally, which is taking place at the Republic
    Square. Before setting out for their customary walk-about in
    downtown Belgrade, the demonstrators were addressed by Vuk
    Draskovic, head of the Serbian Renewal Movement and one of the
    three leaders of the opposition coalition Zajedno. Draskovic
    accused Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic of ``trying to spark
    off a civil war in Serbia'' and condemned him for ``the blood he
    has never been reluctant to see shed.'' Draskovic added that the
    coalition Zajedno will let no civil war break out in the country.

    Zoran Djindjic, head of the Democratic Party, emphasized that
    those who lost at the elections will gain nothing by coming to
    Belgrade and seeking to provoke violence. He also stressed that
    the regime is desperate to turn the public attention from the
    issue of electoral fraud: ``Let [the authorities] respond to our
    accusations and tell us who stole the votes at the last
    elections,'' said Djindjic. He underscored the opposition's
    resolve to avoid clashes with the pro-Milosevic supporters
    gathered at the nearby Terazije Square and said that Zajedno
    supporters have no reason to seek the proximity of today's
    visitors to Belgrade. All the approaches to the Terazije Square
    are now being guarded by cordons of riot police.


    President of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic personally addressed
    today's pro-government rally at Terazije. He said that ``a strong
    Serbia is not in the interest of many powers outside this
    country'' and that ``with the help of a fifth column [of
    collaborators] they have been forming inside Serbia, they have
    already attempted to destabilize our country. Naturally, we will
    not allow any of it to happen,'' emphasized Milosevic. He
    characterized the pro-government rally as dedicated to ``the
    ideals of peace, freedom, the independence of Serbia and the
    dignity of our people.''  After a long round of cheering by his
    supporters and a chanting of slogans reminiscent of those used
    during Tito's reign -- ``We are Sloba's, Sloba is ours'' and ``Out
    With the Traitors'' -- the President of Serbia went on to say that
    the Zajedno demonstrations aim to ``hinder the economic
    development of Serbia and weaken the country to such an extent as
    to jeopardize the integrity of present Yugoslavia and present

    Milosevic added that he wants to make an exception regarding the
    students who have been protesting for the past four weeks and
    ``who demand that the irregularities in the local elections be
    sorted out.'' He pointed out that he has promised the students to
    help establish the truth, but only ``through the institutions of
    our system'' which, he said, are no worse than those in other
    countries. Milosevic went on to say that ``the greatest injustice
    are violence and war, and the greatest justice peace and
    freedom,'' at which words the crowd cheered ``Slobo, we love you''
    and he replied ``I love you, too.''

    ``But we want many other just things: working factories, workers
    doing their jobs, good wages, farmers to be paid on time,
    schoolchildren arriving safe home to their parents, and Belgraders
    going round their city unhindered,'' he added. ``The collusion of
    enemies from this country and abroad intends to weaken us, but I
    can tell you one thing: their attempts will make us stronger
    rather than weaker...  Under threats and pressure, Serbia has
    always grown more unified...  Nobody will allow it to be divided,
    nor will anybody [in Serbia] be a slave... Our people is unified
    around a policy of peace and freedom and we want to build a
    developed country, which will do honor to its people,'' said
    Milosevic, closing his address with the words: ``Long live Serbia,
    long live Yugoslavia.''  His speech closed the counter-rally in
    his support at 4:30 p.m.

    The riot police who remained on the streets of Belgrade after the
    pro-government rally was over, used teargas against the
    demonstrators assembled at the Republic Square and waiting for the
    rest of the Zajedno supporters to return from their traditional
    walk-about in the city. They arrived back at the Republic Square
    at 5 p.m. It appears that some of those who were waiting for them
    had moved in the direction leading towards Terazije; it was at
    this point that the riot police intervened with teargas.

    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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