News for December 1st, 1996

About ten thousand students in Belgrade gathered at 12 o'clock on the Plato in front of the Faculty of Philosophy. After speeches of several lecturers, the students went to their protest walk. Condoms were thrown in front of the Supreme Court; the event was called "Condoms for the poltroons, we don't want them to catch anything when they suck up" (virtual translation of the slogan). Students announced they would gather again tomorrow and continue their protest. The students from Nis, Kragujevac nad Novi Sad announced their organized arrival. More than 750 lecturers of the University of Belgrade have signed the document of support to students' demands.

Some 100,000 attended today's protest gathering in Belgrade in cold and rainy weather. As before, the demonstrators first started a protest walk down the streets of the city, threw eggs on the buildings of the government controlled media, and in the end they attended the rally in Terazije St. where the leaders of the "Zajedno" coalition gave their speeches (Miroljub Labus, the vice-president of the Democratic Party, sociologist Vesna Pesic, the president of the Citizens' Union, writer Vuk Draskovic, the president of the Serbian Renewal Movement).

Demonstrations of several thousands of people were also held today in Nis. Zoran Djindjic, the president of the Democratic Party, spoke to them today. He was also the guest of the protest meeting in Kraljevo, which was, according to the reports arriving in Belgrade, attended by some 20,000 people. Demonstrations were also held in Uzice, Cacak, Kragujevac, etc.

According to the news of Radio B92, the frequency of which was jammed today, too (the BBC source in English) western diplomates are trying to act as go-betweens in the dispute between the regime and the "Zajedno" coalition. According to the statement of an anonymous diplomate that regime "desperately needs a compromise now".

According to the state controlled media, several persons were arrested yesterday, charged for "group involvement" in the "destructive demonstrations",i.e. for damaging the windows of the buildings of "Politika" and the state controlled TV station. The representatives of the "Zajedno" coalition stated today that some of their activists were arrested by the police. Zeljko Ozegovic, the board member of the "Zajedno" coalition from Novi Beograd was also arrested, but the police refuses to give information about the arrested persons. The correspondent of London BBC announced yesterday that some of the students had been taken for questioning and according to what some of the students said they've been physically maltreated during the questionings.

Some 50 French intellectuals as well as a large number of Czech artists and public figures sent a letter of support to the demonstrators in Belgrade.

Daniel Kon-Bendit, the well-known leader of the student movement of the '68, announced his visit to Belgrade.

In the reports of Greek press the Belgrade regime is compared with the Turkish government, which is considered the strongest accusation of the Greek media.

Beside the radio "Ozon" from Cacak, the informative program of the radio B92 can be heard in Bajina Basta too, starting from today.

"Demokratija", the special issue edited and published by the ex-journalists of "Blic", appeared today again.

At today's session of the Executive Board of the City Parliament of Belgrade (the government of SPS), the vice-president of the board, Pavlovic, called the situation in Belgrade "the state of emergency". The president of the City government appealed to "the children to stay in schools". This is the first time in last 2 weeks that somebody from the city government said anything about the events in Belgrade.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs in Belgrade threatened the organizers of the demonstrations in this evening's announcement. Dragan Tomic, the president of the Serbian Parliament, accused the opposition for "fascistic methods" and "fascistic ideology" tonight on the RTS, repeating the words of Ljubisa Ristic, the president of JUL, which the latter uttered some 10 days ago. The RTS commentators accused the opposition among other things of "forcing the children leave the school". This evening the regime has begun with its strongest propaganda against the citizens' protests in Serbia.

According to the Beta agency, Mirjana Markovic, the wife of the Serbian president, flew in from India today, where she was promoting her book.

Five of the activists of the "Zajedno" coalition were convicted by the Magistrate today for "throwing eggs on the building of the Vecernje Novosti". As we were informed, their lawyers were not allowed to attend the trial. Judge Djurisic refused to give the families of the five activists the information about what the sentences were. The lawyers were not allowed to see the verdict either.

The protests will continue.

Thanks to novim@sezampro.yu

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