Foreign Agencies on December 27th, 1996

Massed Belgrade Police Drive Out Protesters but Limit Use of Force
By John Pomfret
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, December 27 1996; Page A25
The Washington Post

A protest by Belgrade university students which began earlier in the day took place without police intervention. About 15,000 students paraded noisily through downtown, braving frigid temperatures, fierce winds and snow.

Some students wore garlands of garlic to protect themselves against "Communist vampires." A huge roar erupted when one speaker read a congratulatory telegram from the rock group REM. Bigger cheers followed when someone threw chocolate bars into the freezing throng.

(c) Copyright 1996 The Washington Post Company

December 27, 1996
Serbia on the Edge

The demonstrations began after Mr. Milosevic annulled the electoral victories of an opposition coalition in several major cities last month. Accepting his manipulation of elections would have ended any pretense of democratic accountability in Serbia. In particular, it would have made next year's presidential contest, in which Mr. Milosevic himself will seek a new term, little more than a ritual coronation.

To avoid that result, students and supporters of a wide range of opposition parties, numbering at times as many as a quarter of a million people, have been staging peaceful nightly vigils, drawing diplomatic support from Washington. For a time, Mr. Milosevic seemed inclined to make at least limited concessions. But more repressive counsels now seem to have prevailed. Even so, a report due today from a European delegation investigating the election controversy could offer new openings to compromise.

THE NEW YORK TIMES (front page)
December 27, 1996
Tens of Thousands Protest in Serbian Capital

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia
Another protester, Branka Tomisovic, 26, an economics student at Belgrade University, who seemed to be enjoying the carnival atmosphere in the lightly falling snow, said she no longer saw Milosevic as a strongman.

"He doesn't know what to do," she said as she jauntily walked along with hundreds of others outside a police cordon that was preventing them from getting to the main square.

Los Angeles Times
Friday, December 27, 1996
Milosevic Deploys Forces to Quell Protest
By TRACY WILKINSON, Times Staff Writer

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- Thousands of riot police armed with tear-gas rifles blockaded the central part of this capital Thursday, strangling an anti-government demonstration in a new show of force by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.

The police deployment was seen as an attempt by Milosevic to break the back of the most sustained opposition to his nine-year regime. Students, politicians and ordinary Serbian citizens have parlayed protest over election fraud into a demand for profound political change in what they regard as one of Europe's last Communist governments.

Copyright Los Angeles Times

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