Foreign Agencies on December 31st, 1996

Milosevic Loses Supporters
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, December 31, 1996 8:46 am EST

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP)
In a New Year's message, students appealed Milosevic to accept the conclusions of international fact-finders who declared Friday that the opposition won the elections.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe also urged Milosevic to concede defeat, and gave him until Thursday to reply to its findings.

``With every day of hesitation we are further from the world that we desperately long for,'' the students said in a statement faxed to The Associated Press. ``Now is the time to act like a statesman, with honor and determination.''

Opposition leaders planned a New Year's festivities, starting with a masked ball this afternoon, a walk organized by student protesters, and a then a ``big bash'' attended by some of the country's top actors and musicians.

An invitation printed in Monday's newspapers said revelers should bring candles, sparklers or an alarm clock set for midnight. It said a Christmas tree would be erected in Republic Square and people could leave new year's wishes on pieces of paper under it.

The dress code was to be informal, featuring heavy parkas and boots for partying in the snow that was falling steadily today.

(c) Copyright 1996 The Associated Press

Europeans Press Milosevic
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, December 31, 1996 8:05 pm EST

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP)

Police prevented dozens of students from walking up the street where Milosevic lives on Tuesday evening. The students had hoped to deliver a ``declaration of freedom.''

The students turned into a neighboring street, where they were greeted by the former Yugoslav president, Dobrica Cosic.

He expressed his hope that 1997 would ``be a year of democracy, thanks to all the students,'' student protester Dusan Vasiljevic said.

(c) Copyright 1996 The Associated Press

Tuesday December 31 5:30 PM EST
Milosevic Promises Reforms, Ignores Opposition

Protesting Belgrade students sneaked past Milosevic's feared security forces and after three attempts foiled by hundreds of riot police managed to reach Milosevic's home in the elite residential district of Dedinje.

A group of some 20 student representatives, camera crews and reporters took a trolley-bus to Dedinje from the city center and then walked up the street to Milosevic's home.

"The four policemen standing outside Milosevic's home were stunned when they saw students," a witness said.

"One of them told the students they could not pass by under any circumstances, so they shook hands with him and wished them a happy New Year," the witness said.

Later some 5,000 students staged a "happening" in a Belgrade square as part of the New Year celebrations.

Six of them shut themselves in a cage while a magician performed a trick with vanishing ballots in a box ridiculing the ruling socialists for their election fraud.

The street spectacle took advantage of Belgrade's traditional enthusiasm for celebrating the New Year to help maintain the enthusiasm of Zajedno's supporters whose ranks have dwindled since snowy, sub-zero weather set in a week ago.

It is also a way round an Interior Ministry ban on marches that disrupt traffic that has driven the protests off the city streets and onto a narrow pedestrian mall.