Seventy sixth protest meeting started at the main city square with the speech, given by Vuk Draskovic. The gathered citizens demanded a walk. So it started, but the crowd in the centre of the city was awaited by the multiple police cordons. That s why the speakers held their speeches immediately in front of the cordons.
Let your wounds be for the better tomorrow , said at the beginning of his speech Vuk Draskovic, and then invited Belgrade citizens to keep smiling in order to mock the wild forces and barbarianism that happened last night . Last night, he added, after many other crimes, the police terror officially started in Serbia. After all the crimes committed against the Serbs, from Zagreb and Rijeka up to here, the only thing left for this regime is to provoke bloodshed in Serbia. Barbaric behaviour of the police indicates by itself that somebody lost their senses completely , said Draskovic.
Inviting the citizens to peaceful Ghandi-like resistance, Draskovic said that the violence will be conquered by the non-violence, for the one who uses battering against the citizens, shows that that is the only alternative left for him. The leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement invited all the instituti- ons to stop working, all the schools and faculties to stop their classes, the lawyers not to enter the courtrooms as well as the citizens to stop paying taxes, electricity and water. The citizens tax-payment money is given to the savages that beat the people. Do not give them anything , said Draskovic.
However, a couple of hundred of the most persistent demonstrators remained in the city centre standing confronted against the significantly more numerous police forces. After the police forced themselves upon the citizens, the citizens withdrew into the nearby side streets. Some of them tried to look for shelter in the shops, but the policemen went in after them, and continued to beat them there. The police beat up and arrested the people trying to run away, among which were minors as well.
The cameramen of Reuter Sergey Karazi was brutally beaten on the head and the back, and the camera he was carrying was first broken and then confiscated. Reiner Hercher, the cameraman of AP got hit by the night-stick into his chest while shooting the scene as the police were beating one of the Coalition ZAJEDNO leaders, Zoran Dindic. A cameraman of CNN happened to be at that spot, trying to record the same scene. He got his camera smashed by a policeman too.
One of the three policemen that beat up BK television journalists said that they beat up journalists on their self-initiative. The policemen who would not reveal his identity for fear of possible consequences says that the immediate reason for beating up the BK crew was the fact that they were shooting as we started to beat up the demonstrators. At first I thought that it was a CNN cameramen. After we smashed the camera I saw the sign of BK television. I shouted to my colleague: Stop. This one is ours , said yesterday a policeman of Cukarica section of MUP.
Aleksandar Bercek, the Chief manager of the National Theatre in Belgrade also the representative of the Socialist Serbian Party in the Parliament filed his resignation yesterday.
I am shattered by the unnecessary beating and persecution of the our citizens, who are simply demanding their rights in a peaceful and persistent way. I invite all the members of the police force not to forget that they have peaceful citizens of Belgrade in front of them, not enemies. I beg of the citizens not to revenge and respond to the force by force, so that these dramatic events would not soon turn into more tragic ones, as I fear. These are serious and hard times, and everybody is responsible not only before their own conscience, but before the judgement of history as well.
I trust in God that He will open the eyes of such authorities, and that they will stop torturing this tormented nation - says, among other things, in his plea the Patriarch Pavle.
Using the police force is the only way of keeping Milosevic in power - said Ivan Kovacevic, and added that Coalition ZAJEDNO continues their protest.
Coalition ZAJEDNO will use all the available means to identify those who commited these evil acts.
As the SRM Information Service learns, two police special units used a very strange weapons against the citizens on the night between the 2nd and 3rd February in the centre of Belgrade. Namely, the policemen used sling-shots with 1 centimetre in diameter metal balls and threw them at the gathered citizens. One such metal ball broke through the window of a citizen s flat and made a whole in the ceiling.
SRM: Information Service