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Protests in Serbia Archive
Odraz B92 Daily News Service

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    Odraz B92 vesti (by 9.30 PM), December 27, 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.



    Belgrade police used force against several hundred citizens in
    downtown Belgrade this afternoon after the Zajedno coalition rally
    was over.

    After special forces had dispersed citizens in front of the Balkan
    hotel, a group of plain clothes men pulled out batons and started
    beating the demonstrators who were standing on the side walk near-
    by. Reports from the spot said several citizens remained lying on
    the ground and at least one was taken unconscious in an ambulance.
    Several of the injured headed for the Democratic Party
    headquarters, a twelve-year-old girl among them. Here is what she
    told a Radio B92 reporter: ``I was going with my mum to eat
    something and to walk a bit, to see what is happening. When I
    climbed on a flower stand a policeman came to me and told me:
    'Step down immediately!'  I said I wouldn't, that was my flower-
    stand, and told him to go and arrest Sloba instead. He then pushed
    me and everybody started running. They pushed my mum too and
    everybody else. They started beating us. They hit my mum on the
    back and me on the legs mostly. When we got up [from the ground],
    the policemen started swearing at my mum and an old man defended
    us. Then we hid in a passage-way and I was sick and dizzy. I
    couldn't breathe because I was so scared. Them my mum brought me


    Between 11:00--15:00 today, Radio B92's broadcasts could be heard
    with lot of noise interference -- if at all. After the radio's
    management intervened, the fault on the transmitter was repaired
    and the broadcasting was continued without interference. We had
    technical problems in the production of our Internet news as well,
    for the voltage in the building where we are situated had dropped,
    disabling the normal functioning of our appliances. That is why
    our program could not be heard over the Internet and why our news
    bulletins were late.

    All ended well, except for the people beaten up in the streets of
    Belgrade. One of them is Nikola Majdak, a cameraman for our TV
    production team, who was beaten over the head by plain clothes

    Veran Matic
    Radio B92's editor-in-chief


    Police forces prevented UofB students from marching in the streets
    of Belgrade. The students, who had gathered in front of the School
    of Philosophy, were surrounded on all sides by heavily armed riot
    squads. The Steering Board then had the students walk in circles,
    prisoner-style, in the space dividing the student column from the
    police cordons. The student security people did physical exercises
    and students offered chocolates to the policemen. Around 14:30 the
    students returned to the square in front of the School of
    Philosophy, their usual starting place.


    The Serbian ministry of the interior sent today an order to the
    Student Protest Steering Board to the effect that the police will
    no longer tolerate ``self-willed blocking of traffic'' by the
    students, for, as the order stated, it is causing damage to other
    citizens and the economy. The Steering Board replied that Student
    Protest '96 will carry on as usual and if the police continue to
    prevent its walkabouts, the students will find a way of showing
    the citizens of Belgrade that they are still protesting. The next
    student protest is set for 6:30 p.m. tomorrow.


    Leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement Vuk Draskovic called on the
    dozens of thousands Belgraders gathered today in the Republic
    Square at -10 degrees Centigrade to attend tomorrow's funeral of
    Predrag Starcevic, who died last Tuesday of injuries sustained in
    a clash with Slobodan Milosevic's supporters. Draskovic announced
    that the next Zajedno protest in the Republic Square will be held
    on Sunday.

    During the protest, several thousand-strong riot squad police,
    some of them carrying automatic rifles, were deployed along the
    side walks of downtown Belgrade. The heavy police presence
    resulted in a complete blockage of traffic in that part of the
    Serbian capital. Zoran Djindjic, leader of the Democratic Party,
    commented on this by saying that Milosevic was right when he
    claimed the forces of destabilization are well organized -- they
    have managed to block even the pedestrian walkways today, Djindjic
    remarked, as they had blocked the whole of Belgrade yesterday. He
    added there is no reason for demonstrators to clash with the
    police as it was not the police forces that stole their votes.
    Zoran Djindjic called on all citizens to keep clear of the police.


    Former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez announced today that
    the opposition coalition Zajedno had in fact won in the local
    elections in 13 cities in Serbia as well in 9 Belgrade districts,
    reports Reuters. In the report he handed in to the Organization
    for Peace and Security in Europe (OSCE), Gonzalez called on the
    OSCE to ``urgently demand'' that the Yugoslav authorities and
    political forces respect the will of the people as expressed in
    the elections. Despite several reservations and objections he had
    against it, Gonzalez estimated that the Yugoslav electoral system
    is capable of showing the will of the majority of the electorate.
    According to him, there is no doubt about the electoral results in
    the rest of the municipalities, i.e. those where the electoral
    results have not been contested, as well as that the members of
    the left coalition had won a majority of votes.

    At a press conference held after he had officially submitted in
    his report to the OSCE chairman Flavio Cotti, Gonzalez said that
    there is now an exceptional opportunity for the Federal Republic
    of Yugoslavia to overcome the particular problem of local
    electoral results, initiate true democracy and re-integrate itself
    into the international community. Both the authorities and the
    opposition, as well as the citizens of Serbia, must grasp this
    opportunity with both hands, Gonzalez urged. OSCE Chairman Flavio
    Cotti told the press conference that he had already spoken to
    Serbian President Milosevic on the phone and informed him of the
    mission's findings, adding that he expects Milosevic to make his
    reply known by the end of the next week. Danish Foreign Minister
    Nils Petersen, who is to take over from Flavio Cotti as the OSCE
    chair on January 1, announced that the OSCE Council will convene
    in Vienna at the end of next week to examine Milosevic's reply.


    Official France called on Serbian President Milosevic to accept
    the recommendations by the OSCE and acknowledge the victory of the
    opposition in all the major cities of Serbia, warning him at the
    same time to abstain from the use of force. Spokesman of the
    French Foreign Ministry Annette Limido said it was imperative for
    the Serbian authorities to accept the recommendations by the OSCE
    and come up with a democratic solution, which is the only way FR
    Yugoslavia can take towards its full reintegration in the
    international community. She warned the Serbian authorities not to
    use force against the Zajedno supporters. The situation might soon
    escalate if the electoral will of the people is ignored any
    longer, she pointed out.


    Chairman of the EU Ministerial Council, Irish Foreign Minister
    Dick Spring expressed European Union's concern over the possible
    reaction by the Serbian authorities against the wave of street
    protests in Belgrade. He warned them not to use force against the
    demonstrators. Spring expressed gravest concern over the latest
    developments in Belgrade, where the authorities have threatened to
    forcibly crush the peaceful opposition protests which have been
    going on for almost five weeks now. Spring emphasized that the
    crisis in Serbia can be resolved only through a peaceful dialogue
    between the regime and its democratically elected opponents, and
    not by the use of arms. He warned that any repressive actions
    taken by the Serbian authorities can lead only to further
    diplomatic, political and economic isolation of Serbia. Spring
    stressed that the responsibility for the escalation of the
    tensions on the streets of Belgrade lies with the authorities who
    had disregarded the calls by the international community to
    refrain from force and embark on a dialogue with the opposition.
    Spring called on the Belgrade authorities to thoroughly examine
    the report by the OSCE mission in order to come up with actions to
    which will promote democracy in Serbia.


    A statement issued by the British Foreign Office today said the
    British Government was appalled by the violence used against the
    peaceful demonstrations in Belgrade, and by the police brutality
    which has resulted in one death so far. Such actions can only
    damage the chances the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has of
    bettering its relations with the international community, reports
    AFP.  Westminster urged Belgrade authorities to respond positively
    to the efforts made by the international community, including
    those by the OSCE, to find a peaceful solution to the problems at


    Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy said today Canada holds
    Belgrade authorities responsible for the escalation of violence in
    Belgrade. He called on both sides to exert self-restraint and
    tolerance, reports AFP.


    President of the Socialists of Belgrade and lecturer at the School
    of Public Engineering, Branislav Ivkovic, sent a letter to student
    protesters calling on the principles of democracy and inviting
    them to a round of, as he stressed, friendly talks. The reply by
    the Steering Board of the Student Protest '96 reminded Ivkovic of
    the occasion when he rejected their calls for maximum tolerance
    and restraint before the pro-Milosevic rally last Tuesday. At that
    point, Ivkovic had claimed that the matter was beyond his control
    and that the rally was not being organized by the SPS.  The
    students also said they held him and his party responsible for the
    death of Predrag Starcevic, who dies of injuries he had sustained
    in a clash with the SPS supporters who had been bused to Belgrade
    last Tuesday. They rejected to talk to Ivkovic, whom they
    described as ``a tiny peg in the huge machine of [SPS] power,''
    just as they had refused to negotiate with President Milosevic.
    The Steering Board did, however, emphasize that Ivkovic would be
    welcome if he came to address them as a professor at their next
    gathering in front of the School of Philosophy.


    Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Pavle
    called in his Christmas message for ``adherence to the law and
    justice which binds all to respect the freely expressed will of
    the people and curb self-will and violence.''


    The Yugoslav National Bank (YNB) will send its New Year's Greeting
    to all citizens of FR Yugoslavia in the shape of a new hundred
    dinar bill, said today's issue of the daily ``Dnevni Telegraf''
    quoting sources close to the YNB.  ``The [state] mint have been
    industriously working on finishing the issue on time,'' said the

    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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