Foreign Agencies on January 9th, 1997

More protests after Milosevic concedes election loss
January 9, 1997
Web posted at: 1:50 p.m. EST (1850 GMT)

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) -- Buoyed by Slobodan Milosevic's decision to give up power in a key city, some 20,000 students confronted police Thursday and said they would stay on the streets as long as the officers do.

Student protest organizers demanded Milosevic's Socialists concede the loss of all the 14 towns the opposition won in November 17 local elections. Annulments of those victories by Milosevic's courts have sparked seven weeks of demonstrations.

In a move that could lead to violence, student leaders said they would not retreat from the heavily-armed riot police who have blocked opposition marches for over two weeks.

"We will stay here as long as it's necessary for the police to move away," said student leader Dusan Vasiljevic. "We'll be here for days if needed."

Some 20,000 students were demonstrating, sharply up from Wednesday's figure. Some taunted riot police cordons by rushing them and stopping just short of them. Protest leaders said some would stay overnight.

Copyright 1997 Associated Press.

(c) 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.

Police Allow Yugo Protest
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, January 9, 1997 11:10 pm EST

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) -- After a standoff that lasted into the early morning, police backed down Friday and allowed tens of thousands of students to march through Belgrade in opposition to President Slobodan Milosevic.

Supporters waved from balconies and windows, greeting the students after they made good on their vow to no longer retreat before Milosevic's riot police.

Students and opposition followers have demonstrated for 53 straight days in protest of Milosevic's annulment of local elections won by the opposition. In recent days, heavily armed riot police have blocked the marches that accompany the rallies.

An estimated 30,000 students gathered Thursday afternoon, pledging to stay in the city's center until police allowed them through. Well after midnight Thursday, police finally retreated to their cars, and the students marched.

Their celebration was marred when a government supporter drove into the marchers, injuring four or five of them. They beat the driver before police arrested him and took him away.
During the 53 days of protests, students have held their own demonstrations to show they are independent of the political opposition.

Meanwhile, there were signs of further bending by the authoritarian Milosevic.
The number of students turning out Thursday -- about 30,000 -- was a sharp increase over Wednesday's 3,000. Some of those demonstrating Thursday taunted the cordons of riot police, rushing toward them and then stopping short.

(c) Copyright 1997 The Associated Press

Belgrade Students and Police in Stalemate

(17:11 01/09/97) BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (Reuter) - Serbian police played cat and mouse Thursday with Belgrade student protesters who were trying to stare down heavily armed anti-riot cordons until the police allowed them to continue marching.

Teams of whistle-blowing students working one-hour shifts faced off against police cordons in the city center. One group passed the time with a Serbian folk dance.

As soon as one cordon broke up, students would start moving but a fresh police blockade would spring up somewhere else.

``Pull back, there will be no passage for you here,'' one policeman told student leader Cedomir Jovanovic.

Belgraders gathered to support the students, who asked them not to provoke the police.

Diplomats say they fear provocateurs could spark an incident to give a pretext for a police crackdown and ban on all rallies.

The government banned protest marches after clashes between pro-government and opposition demonstrators Dec. 24.

The students have vowed they will continue until the police issue a statement saying they will not block the streets.

Thursday marked the 53rd day of protests against the cancellation of municipal election results by President Slobodan Milosevic's ruling Socialists last November.

The protests have shaken the foundations of leftist rule in Serbian-dominated federal Yugoslavia which has been led by Communists and their successors, Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), since 1945.

Serbian Ruler Concedes Vote in Major City
Offer Fails to Stem Opposition Protests
By Michael Dobbs
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, January 9 1997; Page A23
The Washington Post

On Dec. 17, students from Nis staged a 150-mile walk to Belgrade and presented Milosevic with evidence of electoral fraud, including results that had been altered by hand by officials of his Socialist Party. Milosevic promised the students that he would investigate their allegations and punish any officials found responsible for electoral fraud.

(c) Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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