News for February 8th, 1997

After the acknowledgment of the local elections, the Serbian opposition will cease street demonstrations, but will not give up its demand for the alteration of the electoral law and for the liberation of the state media, Zoran Djindjic, one of the leaders of the "Zajedno" coalition announced. In the conversation with the correspondents of the Hungarian magazines from FR Yugoslavia, which happened yesterday in the organization of the Hungarian Embassy in Belgrade, Djindjic said that he doesn't believe that the MPs of the opposition will attend the session of the Serbian Parliament which should deal with the accepting of the law on the acknowledgment of the November elections' results.

The Command of the Armored Brigade of the Yugoslav Army (VJ), located on Banjica, requested the tanks to get out on the streets in the night between February 2nd and 3rd, during the clashes of the police with the demonstrators on Branko's bridge, to protect the citizens of the police, the today's "Nedeljni Telegraf Plus" writes today. The Command of the First Army prevented this action in the last moment, the newspaper claims, referring to the sources close to the leadership of the VJ.

"Lex Specialis", which was initiated by the Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and is to be adopted by the Serbian Parliament, "is actually a forced political act for which it is desired to subsequently receive a legal form", it was announced by the Student Protest 96/97. The students estimated that the recommended law, which is referring to the report of the OSCE committee, "points to a one man's self-rule in Serbia, as practically the only, inviolable institution of the system". "The Student Protest 96/97 will consider its first demand fulfilled when the representative mandates have been verified on the foundations of the original electoral records, as was confirmed by the report of the OSCE committee". "The students are bitterly pointing to this open and imposed gift in the shape of the President's charity, and are remaining faithful to the democratic ideas, the government of the law, and the respect of the authentic will of the voters, established in a regular, legal and legitimate manner", the Student Protest announced.

More than 10 thousand Belgrade Students started their protest walk through the city a little after 19:00 tonight. The students passed the Cetinjska street, where Rastko Kostic lives, the student who was beaten by the police in the night between February 2nd and 3rd. The police are not hindering the protest march of the students tonight. The students, who have been protesting the disrespect of the citizens' electoral will for 79 days already, assembled at approximately 18:00 at the Plato in front of the School of Philosophy. A great procession of the students, making tremendous noise, passed through Terazije, by the Assembly and the Presidency of Serbia as well as by the building of the Radio-television of Serbia.

The Spanish magazine "El Pais" writes today that the Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic is "despite his failures, preserving authority" and that "Serbia has again been abandoned - a stereotypical country in the Balkans, unstable, tyrant and corrupt".

Vojislav Seselj, President of the Serbian Radical Party condemned most harshly, as he put it, the brutal interference of some western countries in our country's internal affairs.

The American congressmen, Rick Bautcher, a Democrat from Virginia and Bruce Vento, a Democrat from Minnesota, sent a letter to the Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, in which they remind him that he still hasn't replied to the letter of the Congress which was sent to him over two months ago, and was demanding the liberation of the media from the control of the state in Serbia, Slobodan Pavlovic, the correspondent of "Nasa Borba", reports for FoNet.

Vuk Draskovic, President of SPO, stated tonight in "Gravitacija", a BK Television program, that the parties in the "Zajedno" coalition shall discuss further actions if the 17. November election results are recognized. At that point they shall also reveal their candidate for the Mayor of Belgrade. Draskovic also said that if the coalition takes part in the next elections in Serbia, the SPO shall offer a candidate for President of the Republic, the Democratic Party a candidate for President of State and the Civil Alliance a candidate for President of Parliament.

Bojana Ristic, the Republic MP of the "Zajedno" coalition from Leskovac suggested today at the protest rally in Kragujevac that the municipalities no longer pay taxes to the Republic and thus express citizen insubordination towards the state of Serbia. Before the rally, thousands of Kragujevac citizens participated in the protest march through the city.

Radoje Djukic, Minister for Private Enterprises in the Serbian Government, stated that FR Yugoslavia "will not have significance before the world without radical reforms in the economical, legal and political system". Without the assistance of the world "we simply stand no chance for the transformation and development", Djukic said in his statement for the weekly edition of "Nasa Borba" and estimated that "the latest political events not only returned us to an unsatisfactory position, but they also excluded the state economy from the international surroundings for a long period of time".

The Branch Syndicate of the Teachers of Serbia, "Nezavisnost", decided today to sue the Serbian Government as debtor to the teachers for the unsettled obligations towards them and refuse the offer of the Government by which the January wages should be 220 dinars. The Syndicate has decided to sue the Serbian Government as debtor to the teachers for not having them paid in December 1996. and January 1997.

The supporters of the "Zajedno" coalition and the citizens of Belgrade assembled again today at Republic Square where the leaders of the coalition, Zoran Djindjic, Vuk Draskovic and Vesna Pesic spoke at the 81st protest rally.

Branislav Jovanovic, president of the City Government in Nis stated tonight that, regardless of the outcome of the upcoming session of the Serbian Parliament, "there will be no making deals" on the number of mandates received by the "Zajedno" coalition in that city. It would be best for the special law to establish that the "Zajedno" coalition attained 54 out of 70 representative mandates in the Assembly of the City of Nis, Jovanovic said at the main city square in Nis, at the 53rd protest gathering of the "Zajedno" coalition. The protest rally of the Nis citizens was concluded with a short walk.

The protest against the refusal of the government to recognize the November 17th electoral results, in the organization of the "Zajedno" coalition, was held again tonight in Kraljevo.

The citizens' protest gatherings, organized by the "Zajedno" coalition, were held throughout Jablanica county today. Several towns, including Leskovac (in its 67. protest day), hosted Ratko Krstic, Rodoljub Mitic and Miodrag Stankovic, all Municipal Assembly delegates of the coalition.

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