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Protests in Serbia Archive
Odraz B92 Daily News Service

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    Odraz B92 vesti (by 6 PM), December 25, 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 6 PM


    A group of Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) representatives in the
    Serbian Parliament has scheduled a panel for 7 p.m. to discuss the
    events relating to the last elections, important issues for the
    forthcoming elections and the role of the media. Serbian
    Parliament accepted the SPS proposal to organize this panel in its
    December 17 session. According to the proposal, representatives of
    all parties will have equal representation in the panel,
    contributing one member each plus one additional member for every
    10 MPs of the party. The panel should be open to the general
    public and the media. Zajedno leaders have rejected the
    possibility of a discussion with the authorities until the local
    electoral results of the November 17 round are fully reinstated.


    Leader of the Democratic Party (DS) Zoran Djindjic told a press
    conference today that Belgraders managed to defend their city's
    dignity yesterday and that the authorities proved a factor of
    unrest, risk and instability. He added that Zajedno has received
    information that Milosevic is going to ban protests and said: ``We
    have taken to the streets to defend law, truth and justice and we
    shall therefore continue our protest despite any bans.'' Pointing
    out that those responsible for the election fraud have not been
    punished and that the media are in an even worse condition than
    before November 17, he stressed the Zajedno coalition must
    continue their protest. Djindjic proceeded to give guarantees that
    the protests will remain peaceful.

    Leader of the Civil Alliance of Serbia Vesna Pesic assessed that
    Zajedno and its supporters have shown a high level of political
    savvy and self-restraint and that the police, barring several
    incidents, did not exceed their brief. Estimating yesterday's
    police actions, Djindjic said: ``Police forces had orders not to
    act, and the demonstrators who were bussed into Belgrade were
    given a carte blanche with a clear backing from the authorities to
    crush the student and Zajedno demonstrations. When they realized
    that the proportion of the forces was not what they had expected
    -- only one tenth of the people they had planned to bring actually
    showed up in Belgrade -- [the authorities] instructed the police
    to keep the demonstrators apart.'' Asked whether there is any
    possibility of a dialogue with the Serbian President after what
    happened yesterday, Djindjic said there must be a dialogue, but
    only after the local electoral results of November 17 are
    reinstated. Vesna Pesic added that Zajedno might agree to new
    elections provided that the electoral results of November 17 be
    acknowledged and the media freed so that equal conditions would be
    granted to all parties.


    Interior Ministry Department of Nis stated today that an explosive
    device was thrown at the building housing the Nis Municipal Board
    of the Socialist Party of Serbia around 3 a.m. today. The
    explosion damaged the entrance and a part of the foyer of the
    building. The police are looking for the perpetrator and
    attempting to identify the type of explosive used.


    A statement by the Association of Free and Independent Unions
    (ASNS) said today: ``The Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) has tried
    to deliberately provoke a civil war in our country by the counter-
    rally they staged in Belgrade, the 'war' speech Milosevic
    delivered, the heavy injuries inflicted on Zajedno supporters, the
    club-beating of forty-year-olds and the provoking of fights and
    riots among the citizens of Serbia. SPS has thereby taken the
    responsibility for the suppression of people's free will expressed
    in the local elections of November 17 and of the continuous
    protests in major cities of Serbia.''


    The Zajedno opposition coalition stated today that the counter-
    rally by the Socialist Party of Serbia in Belgrade cost 1,386,000
    Deutche Marks according to the estimates for fuel, train fares,
    daily fees (20 Deutche marks on average) and meal costs. The
    estimate did not include the cost of the banners and other
    propaganda material.


    In the absence of Zajedno and Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS)
    MPs, Serbian Parliament adopted the general Law on Budget for
    1997. Its details as well as the set of laws on social and
    economic policy are to be discussed during the afternoon part of
    the session. Serbian Minister of Finance Dusan Vlatkovic assessed
    the proposed budget as ``maximally restrictive.''  However, the
    Radicals, the only opposition representatives in the session,
    complained that the proposed budget allotted 46% to salaries and
    considerably decreased amounts to agriculture and economy and also
    that the major part of the budget has once again been set aside
    for the police. Although it was not on the agenda, the discussion
    on yesterday's happenings was introduced by the insistent
    Radicals. Tomislav Nikolic, leader of the Radical MP group, partly
    blaming Zajedno for the incidents that occurred, said the chief
    culprit is the SPS who provoked incidents and forced a rift in the
    country. He said reports by the Radio Television Serbia of ``half
    a million participants'' are ridiculous and a proof of ``media
    insanity.'' Leader of the Socialist MP group Gorica Gajevic said
    in reply that if it were not for the Socialists and their wise
    politics lead by President Milosevic, there would be neither
    Republic of Srpska nor peace in the region. She said the SPS
    staged a ``peaceful and dignified'' rally as opposed to the
    ``barbarous and sycophantic'' gatherings of Zajedno supporters.


    The Yugoslav Drama Theater, Atelier 212 and the National Theater
    canceled their performances last night in protest against
    yesterday's violent events in Belgrade. A statement by the
    Association of Drama Artists of Serbia said today: ``We believe
    that physical confrontations and street scuffles are the last step
    preceding a tragedy just waiting to happen. We urge the theaters
    in Serbia to cancel their performances for December 25.''


    Former Interior Minister Radmilo Bogdanovic told the newsagency
    Beta he did not see any riots in Belgrade yesterday. ``I don't
    watch the CNN.  I only watch our television,'' he explained.

    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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