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Protests in Serbia Archive
Odraz B92 Daily News Service

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    Odraz B92 vesti (by 10 PM), December 30, 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 10 PM


    In an interview published in today's issue of the independent
    daily ``Dnevni Telegraf,'' leaders of the coalition Zajedno
    consider it likely that they may by arrested in the near future.

    Vesna Pesic, head of the Civil Alliance of Serbia, said: ``If
    Milosevic defines this political crisis as a state of war, arrests
    and even assassinations are highly likely. Our main concern is the
    safety of the citizens themselves. As far as I go, I'm ready for
    whatever may come. Of course, if Milosevic decides to respect the
    OSCE recommendations and ratify the real electoral results, none
    of that will happen.''

    Zoran Djindjic, head of the Democratic Party, added: ``I don't
    know if or when they will arrest us. I've no crystal ball. If they
    do come for me, however, I'll be ready and waiting.''

    Vuk Draskovic, head of the Serbian Renewal Movement, commented:
    ``I am not interested in that at all, as I've already been in jail
    twice for political reasons. Milosevic can have me arrested again,
    any time. That sort of thing is up to him. Milosevic can put the
    whole of Serbia in jail, but he can't stifle the protests, because
    the protests are coming from the people themselves. He can ban our
    walks, he can ban normal life itself, but he can't ban the will
    for democratic changes in Serbia.''


    Vladan Batic, Democratic Party MP, has sent an open letter to
    Dragan Tomic, president of the Serbian Parliament, in which he
    accuses Tomic of being personally responsible for the de facto
    dictatorship which is now the political reality of Serbia.

    ``At 4 p.m. Friday, December 27, 1996, I witnessed 10--15 young
    men in plain clothes leaving the building of the Serbian
    Parliament, whose president you are. In full sight of numerous
    passers-by, these young men proceeded to stash their clubs and
    baseball bats inside their winter jackets. The same were not long
    after used to assault and brutally beat a considerable number of
    Belgrade citizens who had participated in perfectly peaceful
    street protests or who simply happened to find themselves on the

    By their actions, Mr. 'president,' you have become an accessory to
    serious criminal acts, which also represent a de facto
    introduction of a dictatorship in Serbia. I have no doubt that you
    will eventually have to answer for your complicity: both legally
    and in front of the people whom you are meant to represent.''

    In his open letter to Dragan Tomic, Vladan Batic called for
    Tomic's immediate resignation as president of the Serbian


    Despite subzero temperatures, students of the University of Novi
    Sad today held their protest march, cheered on by many passers-by.
    No incidents occurred. A new protest march was announced for


    Student Protest '96 has received an open letter of support signed
    by thirty-eight teachers of a Belgrade classical gymnasium. ``You,
    the students of Belgrade, have given the best example of how to
    fight against the abuses perpetrated by this regime. We, who were
    your teachers until just recently, are acutely aware of the
    enormity of the current crisis in our educational system and of
    the futility of our own efforts to defend our dignity simply by
    honest and truthful work,'' reads the letter. ``We appeal to you
    to persist with your demands and to maintain to the end the
    peaceful nature of your protests, ignoring all provocations to
    violence: the future rests with you.''


    Most of the special police units brought to Belgrade over the past
    few days spent yesterday inside the buses parked all over the
    downtown core of the Serbian capital, reports the independent
    daily ``Dnevni Telegraf.''  The thousands of riot police presently
    in Belgrade were bused in from Krusevac, Jagodina, Paracin,
    Pozarevac, Smederevo, Kragujevac, Velika Palanka, and other towns
    in the Serbian heartland. The police buses and heavy-duty police
    vehicles seen on the streets of Belgrade these days number several
    dozens. They are parked, engines at the ready, all over the
    downtown area, filled with visibly bored riot squads from outside
    Belgrade. Some are equipped with video machines to help the police
    while away the time.


    Tamara Milanovic, FoNet correspondent from London, reports that
    the Foreign Office has issued another official statement to the
    Serbian authorities. Britain has warned Milosevic's regime to
    desist from its attempts to prevent or otherwise stifle the
    protests, emphasizing that any further ignoring of the Nov. 17
    electoral results could seriously damage Serbia's relations with
    the rest of the world.

    The Foreign Office notes that any failure on the part of Serbian
    authorities to respond to the OSCE report in a timely and
    constructive manner would have a negative effect on Serbia's
    standing with the European Union.


    Mirko Klarin, correspondent for the independent daily ``Nasa
    Borba,'' reports that a majority of European newspapers today
    carry editorials on the current situation in Serbia. The common
    thread is the shared opinion that Slobodan Milosevic's policy is
    now a major threat to Serbia's future and that the opposition is
    the only political actor in the country that can defend Serbia
    from a renewed round of economic sanctions.

    The European press seems to have reached a remarkable degree of
    consensus on the future of Milosevic's regime: Brussels' ``Libre
    Belgique,'' London's ``Financial Times'' as well as today's
    ``Guardian'' all feel that Milosevic has come to the end of the
    road and that his demise is only a matter of time. Estimates of
    how long Milosevic and Tudjman, ``the two tired tyrants,'' as
    ``Guardian'' has dubbed them, can stay in power vary; the sense
    that both are nearing the end of their reign is, however, shared
    by most European observers.

    While ``The Financial Times'' praises the coalition opposition
    Zajedno for its dignified and peaceful protests over the last six
    weeks, ``Le Monde'' calls on Western democracies to begin a
    process of reconciliation with the people of Serbia, who,
    according to ``Le Monde,'' were one of the main victims of
    Milosevic's state propaganda during the war years and will need
    assurances from the West that the rest of the world is not, in
    fact, their enemy.

    Many leading European newspapers also call on their governments to
    renew, and more meaningfully, their support for the Serbian
    opposition and the democratic attempts at establishing a civil
    society in Serbia, while cutting all links with Slobodan Milosevic
    and his clique, at least until they agree to accept the
    recommendations made in Felipe Gonzalez's OSCE report.

    Finally, both ``Le Monde'' and ``The Financial Times'' argue that
    any reinstatement of economic sanctions would hurt the process of
    democratization in Serbia and recommend, instead, that the
    international community apply ``targeted sanctions'' against
    Milosevic and his associates, rather than on Serbia as a whole.
    Such selective sanctions could begin with the freezing of
    Milosevic's personal and family assets abroad.


    The information service of the Student Protest '96, announced
    their New Year's celebration, which begins tomorrow at 9 p.m. in
    front of the School of Philosophy. A rock-concert will be held
    during the night.

    The students also announced that they will be in front of the RTS
    building (the state-run TV) on January 1st: they will using pots,
    kettles and cutlery as their percussion instruments, trying to
    raise as much of a din as possible during the RTS's main news
    service at 7:30 p.m. Protest '96 has invited all Belgraders to
    come out on the streets on Jan. 1st and have their own
    ``percussion sessions'' in protest against the state propaganda

    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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