News for February 5th, 1997

The leaders of the coalition Zajedno gave the message at the 78th protest rally in front of 50,000 gathered citizens in Belgrade that the protests in Serbia will continue until the complete verification of the mandates and the constitution of the Parliaments in all the counties where the coalition won on the November 17 elections. Strong police forces were deployed in the center of the city, and there were officers armed with automatic weapons.

Strong police forces blocked traffic around 2.30 pm in front of the Albanija building in the center of Belgrade, at the same place where the students stood in front of the cordon. The police was situated along all the sidewalks on Terazije and prohibited the citizens of Belgrade from walking in the street.

More than 100 people have been arrested in the police actions in Belgrade since Sunday, and more than 300 have been injured it was stated at the rally of the coalition Zajedno on the Republic Square.

The delegation of the Student Protest '96/97 visited Rastko Kostic, the injured sophomore student of the School of Languages and member of the Main Board. Kostic was beaten by the police in the night of February 2. He lost two teeth and has a fractured nose and left hand. Kostic was beaten even though he was wearing PRESS ID (he is a member of the editorial of the student paper Znak). The student press center stated that Kostic is still in bad condition, but is recuperating and is out of life-threatening condition.

In their today's session, presided over by Mirko Marjanovic, the Serbian Government fully agreed with the suggestions Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic had made in his yesterday's letter to the president of the Government, which are aimed at urgent solving of the disputes concerning a part of local elections, especially those in Belgrade, announces the republic Ministry of Internal Affairs. Accepting the opinion that the interest of improving the relations of our country with the OSCE, as well as with the international community, is of greater importance than any election dispute in certain cities in the Republic, the Serbian Government brought a Bill of announcing the temporary results of the elections for delegates in the assemblies of the municipalities and cities mentioned in the OSCE report as final. The Bill was brought to the People's Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, so that the delegates should vote on it.

Milan Bozic, member of the SPO Presidency stated tonight that the "Zajedno" coalition shall insist on full implementation of the OSCE report, in other words, they shall insist on the recognition of local election results in New Belgrade and Mladenovac. These two municipalities are not mentioned in the Republic Government proposal for the announcement of the final results for local elections in the towns and municipalities stated in the OSCE report. This proposal was sent to the Serbian Parliament for adoption.

The Information service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia announced today that on 4th February 1997, around 19:00, after the rally of coalition Zajedno in Belgrade, a large group of citizens remained in one part of Kolarceva street and in Republic Square, "showing great aggressiveness, and they disrupted traffic and disturbed the peace by their vandal behaviour". 19 persons were arrested for disturbing the peace and for endangering the safety of citizens and property. 17 tort and two criminal charges have been brought against the arrested, announces the Information service.

Several thousand Belgrade citizens gathered this evening in front of the building of Belgrade City Assembly and, together with the delegates of the oppositional coalition Zajedno, made "a democratic chain" around the building. Holding one another's hands, the citizens and around 30 delegates of coalition Zajedno formed a chain around the City Assembly, in order to show that they would defend the democratically elected Assembly.

Leaders of the coalition Zajedno accepted the invitation to come to London towards the end of the month, stated the Foreign Office today. Zoran Djindjic, Vuk Draskovic and Vesna Pesic will meet with Malcolm Rifkind, the secretary of the Foreign Office, stated a spokesman of the ministry and added that a meeting with the Prime Minister John Major is still being considered.

The Board of Deans of the School of Chemical Engineering and Metallurgy (TMF) expressed today the astonishment for the "savage beating of students and professors" and the bursting of the police into the building of the School of Philosophy, which seriously injured the autonomy of the University and the University Law. The Board of the TMF also expressed their solidarity with the School of Philosophy and asked of the authorities to find and punish the commanders and the executors if the police action in the nights of February 2 and 3 of this year, it is stated in the proclamation.

The secretary of the British Foreign Office, Malcolm Rifkind, saluted the decision of the president of Serbia Slobodan Milosevic to acknowledge the electoral victory of the opposition, Reuter reports.

The president of the City Electoral Committee for Belgrade, Radomir Lazarevic said today that he greets the most recent move of the President of Serbia, which is the quickest way to the solution of the existing crises.

Klaus Kinkel, the German minister of foreign Affairs estimated today that the decision of the president of Serbia Slobodan Milosevic, to propose the bringing of a law which would determine the results of the local elections marks the first positive signal, but that it is only the first step towards the democratization of the country.

The leaders of the opposition coalition Zajedno, Vuk Draskovic, Zoran Djindjic and Vesna Pesic will go tomorrow to Paris for a one-day visit at the invitation of the French minister of foreign affairs Herve de Charette. "This invitation represents the acknowledgement of the French government of the leaders of the coalition Zajedno, which has shown political maturity in the past weeks" stated de Charette.

Miomir Jaksic, the Dean of the School of Economy in Belgrade and the three vice-deans handed in their resignations today. Dean Jaksic didn't agree with the stand of the Scientific-Teaching Staff which supported the Student Protest against the disrespect of the electoral will of the citizens.

The lawyers of Kikinda accepted the decision of the Assembly of the Lawyers Association of Vojvodina (SAKV) regarding the strike, until the reports of the OSCE Committee concerning the results of the local election in Serbia held on November 17 last year.

The vice-president of the Direction of the Yugoslav Left (JUL) Aleksandar Vulin stated today that the police intervention in Belgrade was necessary, because the demonstrators created conflicts by throwing rocks at the officers. Vulin said at the press conference that the police used minimum force and that they should "be congratulated for enduring more than 70 days, which is how long the demonstrations in Belgrade and other cities of Serbia have lasted."

The Arts University students strongly protested against today's statement made by Aleksandar Vulin, Spokesman for the Yugoslav Left (JUL), in which he claims that the police can enter the School of Philosophy or any other, for that matter, since it was not a foreign embassy "requiring a passport for entrance".

The president of the Democratic Center Dragoljub Micunovic greeted the proposal of the President of Serbia Slobodan Milosevic for the bringing of a law which would confirm the results of the OSCE Committee, but said that the proposal is late.

The Scientific-Teaching Council of the School of Economy in Belgrade strongly condemned the brutal intervention of the police against the students and citizens of Belgrade who were exercising the right for peaceful demonstrating against the annulment of the electoral results. The Council demanded the immediate release of the arrested students, cessation of the repression and the establishment of the guilty persons and the responsibility of those who "stand behind the shameful decision of the bursting of the police into the School of Philosophy and the physical torture of the students and professors" it was stated at today's session of the Council.

Dusan Vasiljvic, the spokesman for the Student Protest stated that from tomorrow the students will boycott the police not only in group but individually also. Vasiljevic said that the students will ignore the police by looking the other way, and leaving the bus if they notice a police uniform in it.

The Scientific-Teaching Council of the School of Transportation stated its great concern regarding the rough interventions of the police against the peaceful demonstrators in Belgrade between February 2 and 3, when several students were arrested, among which Vladimir Kosanovic, a sophomore at the School of Transportation.

Students of Nis University demonstrated in front of the city police department in Nis, and their three representatives delivered a letter to Radoslav Gvozdenovic, the head of the department, which was addressed to Zoran Sokolovic, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Serbia. It is a letter of protest against the use of force by police on demonstrators in Belgrade and the burst of police into the School of Philosophy. The students of Nis University also demanded that the Minister of Internal Affairs should resign.

An authorized group of representatives of the Belgrade National Theater syndicate talked today to Nada Popovic-Perisic, the Minister of Culture, in the Serbian Government, about the problems of salaries in that theater, announces the republic Ministry of Information. BK Television reports that Minister Perisic concluded that the social demands of the employees were justified, i.e. those demands which fall in her field, and she promised that they would be fulfilled.

Boris Karaicic, Danica Ilic and Nebojsa Djordjevic, representatives of the Student Protest 96/97 were the guests of Radio-television WDR in Koln today. In several programs of the biggest radio and television company in Germany, the Belgrade students expressed their mistrust of the suggestion of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic that the Republic Government should make a special bill, by which the suggestions of the OSCE commission for the recognition of the results of local elections would be accepted.

The boycott of the examination term has been continued at the School of Mechanical engineering in Kragujevac today. The boycott is a gesture of protest against the burst of police into the School of Philosophy in Belgrade and against the violation of the autonomy of the university.

The protest action of Belgrade citizens called "Noise is in", against the way the RTS (State Radio-television Network) reports about the events in Serbia, continues this evening, but the intensity of noise has diminished in most of the districts.

The Council for human rights of the Center for anti-war action announces today that the Supreme Court of Serbia has annulled the verdict of the Belgrade magistrate, who sentenced demonstrator Dejan Bulatovic to 25 days in prison. If the city magistrate alters its verdict in the renewed proceedings, and revokes or mitigates the sentence, Bulatovic will have a right to demand that the state should recompense him for all his sufferings, reads the announcement.

The protest walk of members of the Union of Drama Artists of Serbia and other Belgrade actors was not carried out this evening. Instead, a meeting was held in the Yugoslav Drama Theater during which the protest activities of actors were discussed. The actors are of the opinion that no performances should be given, whereas the protest against the police repression on Belgrade citizens ought to be better organized and more efficient.

A group of independent Yugoslav economists presented this evening to Belgrade students gathered at the School of Philosophy a program for solving the economic crisis in the country. This program is based on privatization and opening towards the world.

Back to News index
Back to the Home Page