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Protests in Serbia Archive
Serbian Renewal Movement: News from Jan. 7

Belgrade, January 8, 1997

About 100,000 citizens celebrated Christmas on the main city square last night. The gathering was organized by Zajedno Coalition, and completely blocked by the police forces.

Representatives of the Zajedno Coalition presented the citizens with the following information last night: members of the police forces who were wearing civil clothing while beating up people on December 27, 1996, were also among Slobodan Milosevic's bodyguards during his contra-rallies on December 24, 1996. A detailed professional analysis of the video-tapes, providing proofs to the claim, is in progress.

Vuk Draskovic, the leader of SPO, reminded the gathered that the main city square, where the rally was held back on March 9, 1991, during the first numerous opposition demonstrations in Belgrade, was then given the name of Liberty Square. Draskovic, however, stressed, that the liberty is yet to come:

"Citizens are calling us from South Africa, New Zealand, America...and asking when they can return to their country. My answer is: as soon as She and He are gone.

The refugees are asking whether there is hope for them to ever return to their homelands, their homes and their fields. My answer is: the homecoming and reconciliation will start as soon as She and He are gone.

The farmer is asking: What is this, I am hungry while the land is fertile? They say that a French farmer makes 10,000 DM per month, and they ask whether that will ever happen in Serbia. My answer is: it will, as soon as She and He are gone.

The retired are asking when they will start getting good and regular pensions, so that they no longer have to hide from their grandchildren that they only eat bread and have no money for the milk. And my answer is: it will be getting worse and worse, if She and He are not gone.

The workers are on a forced leave, and even those who supposedly work, but who receive extremely low salaries, are asking when the factories will start with their production. They never will, unless She and He are gone.

And they are still not gone!"

Draskovic stressed as very important that Montenegro clearly declared that there will be no more waiting and no more tolerance towards the dictatorship of one woman.

The SPO leader informed the citizens at the end of his last night's speech that there is an action planned for today, January 8, where citizens would again block the traffic in downtown Belgrade with their automobiles. That action is an expression of protest against the fact that strong police forces are again preventing the citizens' protest walk on the streets of the city.

After the last night's Christmas rally, the participants were approaching the police cordons and, by kisses and kind word trying to establish a contact with the police and wish them a merry Christmas. Despite such actions, the police only allowed the protest walk on Knez Mihailova street, a part of the Belgrade walking zone.

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