Foreign Agencies on January 22th, 1997
Serb Protests Continue Amid Legal Twist
(16:39 01/22/97) BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (Reuter)
``It is a world champion-class legalistic mess, meticulously crafted to exhaust just about everyone -- Zajedno, the students and the West. Sorry, it won't work,'' a Western diplomat said.
The students showed no sign of tiring. Thousands of them continued their non-stop protests in front of a police cordon in Belgrade for the fourth day, vowing not to budge until they are allowed to walk around the city again.
Four student leaders lobbying for support in Washington met Assistant Secretary of State John Kornblum in his office and he gave them his support.
Daily demonstrations by students and Zajedno demanding the government
reinstate opposition victories in 14 cities, including Belgrade, are in
their 10th week.
The student rally swelled to about 10,000 people in the early morning. Women students kissed policemen, and professors, who have sided with the students, challenged the police to a soccer match.
Belgrade protests may be losing steam
January 22, 1997
Web posted at: 8:35 p.m. EST (0135 GMT)
[Picture: protestors dancing]
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (CNN) -- Students danced in circles, blew whistles and read poetry to riot policemen in downtown Belgrade Wednesday. In nearby neighborhoods, residents beat on pots and pans to drown out government newscasts on the 64th day of anti-government demonstrations.
Despite the vigor of the protesters, their numbers appear to be declining, and the Socialist-dominated government has shown no signs of backing off.
Observers say the demonstrations have been smaller since police were
sent into the neighborhoods, where marchers fear gathering in one spot,
lest they be surrounded.
Students show no signs of tiring
Despite the government's intransigence, students confronting a cordon of riot police in downtown Belgrade show no signs of tiring. After four straight days of facing down long, unwavering lines of police, they insist they will not leave until they are allowed unimpeded access to the city.
And if their numbers have flagged, their sense of humor has not. Some of them tried to hypnotize officers by waving circles and spirals before their eyes. They also organized contests for the best-looking officer and protester.
Their rally swelled to about 10,000 people in the early morning. Women students kissed policemen, and professors, who have sided with the students, challenged the police to a football match. Four students met Wednesday in Washington with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State John Kornblum.
He said the students told him their country had come alive since the war ended in Bosnia, but that they were fearful that the government might soon resort to widespread violence.
"They said that they believed that their country was now at a crossroads and that there was a danger of yet another war in Yugoslavia -- this would be a civil war inside Serbia -- or there was the possibility of a democratic development," Kornblum said.
"They urged us and the international community to support the democratic
Correspondent Brent Sadler and Reuters contributed to this report.
(c) 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.