News for December 5th, 1996

On the 11th day of the Student Protest, in the course of the usual walk through Belgrade, 40,000 (according to Dragan Vasiljevic, spokesman of the Student Protest '96)students started building a symbolic wall in front of the Building of Federal Parliament, under the slogan "We don't wreck, we build". "Today we started building a wall in front of the building of the Federal Parliament. We shall continue building our wall every day, until our demands have been met. Should the granting of our demands be draged out, we shall probably build a wall high enough not to see them any more", said Dragan Vasiljevic.

RTS (Serbian National Radio-Television Network) reported the wall as being the students way of distancing themselves from the government, but the idea was that the students, people of the future, tend to build something new instead of wrecking the existing.

Djordje Balasevic, a famous song-writer, supported the student protest, and dedicated a song to them, "Djole to the students of the Belgrade University", Novi Sad, November 28th, 1996.

One of the finest Serbian actors, Dragan Bjelogrlic, gave in his name and the name of the majority of his colleagues, full and unreserved support of the student protest. The popular actor stated that "the students are serious, they have credibility in this state, it means something when they protest. I think it is good that they haven't protested very often. They must think twice before they protest in order to prevent the devaluation of their voice. They must choose the moment and the cause. This time the cause is more than just, and I have no doubt about whether the students are right or not."

President Milosevic was warned by the American Administration, for the smothering of democracy, that Serbia might be sanctioned by an "external wall" which would disable Serbia's access to the funds trapped by IMF, World Bank and other organizations.

The concern of the White House considering the absence of democratic rights and the smothering of independent media, is expressed in the appeal to the Serbian authorities to respect the democratic will of the citizens, because it might lead to the prolonged isolation of Serbia.

Andre Glucksman, the French philosopher, and a group of French intellectuals will visit Belgrade, as is stated in the message of support to the peaceful protests.

Around 15,000 students participated in today's protest walk through the streets of Novi Sad. 80 professor s and research assistants of the University of Novi Sad formed a Committee for Civil Initiative. As a sign of protest against a report in "Dnevnik" (a regime newspaper) in which it was started that they had seen only around 1,000 students the previous days, they burned copies of this paper. They also lighted candles in front of the building of "Dnevnik". In front of the building of the Regional Executive Council, the students shouted "Red bandits!" and pinched their noses because of "the smell". Citizens of Novi Sad greeted the students warmly.

According to a report in "Blic", students of the University of Kragujevac protested in the streets of this town yesterday, again. During the demonstrations girls waved flowers to policemen, whereas the male students offered apples to ladies. A few policemen refused the flowers, saying "it was for our own good", which proves that they are in fear of loosing their jobs for taking theses tokens of friendship. It also clearly presents the level of personal freedom of the police, as well as of the citizens of this country.

American Congressman Nick Rahel quoted in Blic, that Momir Bulatovic, President of Montenegro, supports the opposition in Serbia. The Congressman, who is head of a five member delegation, stated he believed that the Montenegrin government supported the democratic processes in Serbia, therefore the protests of the opposition and students. Congressman Rahel pointed out that Montenegrin high officials promised to use their influence on Milosevic to convince him to respect the will of citizens and the legal electoral results.

The City Electoral Committee for Belgrade submitted yesterday a request to the Supreme Court of Serbia, for the reconsideration of the decision of the First Municipal Court, by which the electoral victories of the "Zajedno" coalition were annulled. The City Electoral Committee explained that the reasons stated by the First Municipal Court for the annulment of the elections in many election units in Belgrade are untenable.

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