News for February 11th, 1997
Approximately 20000 Belgrade students left two life-vests made of ice and a large nylon and wire brain in front of the Serbian Parliament, when an emergency session was in progress, for the purpose of adoption of the special law on the recognition of the local elections. The students, who have entered the 82nd day of their protest against the disrespect of the citizens' will, intended "the presents" for the Parliaments President Dragan Tomic, and his party allies "because they need some brains". While carrying "the presents", they were escorted by two student processions of all the schools of the University in Belgrade that are taking part in the protest. The Belgrade students whistled at the representatives of the Serbian Radical Party who were waving to them from the windows of the Republic Parliament. After a half hour stop, they pursued their walk "along the media route", that is, by the Radio-television of Serbia and the "Politika" building.
Tonight the Serbian Parliament has accepted, in principal, the special law by which the results of the second rounds of the local elections, according to the findings of the OSCE committee, are proclaimed as final. The law will come into effect a day after it is published in the "Official Herald of the Republic of Serbia".
Arandjel Markicevic, Minister of Justice in the Serbian Government, said today in the Serbian Parliament that the special law is legal and legitimate and that its adoption will remove all controversies regarding the local elections. The special law, which is to recognize the results of the local elections, and which was presented by the Government on the initiative of the Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, is being taken into consideration at the emergency meeting of the Serbian Parliament which has begun at 17:00. Neither the representatives of the Democratic Party, the Serbian Renewal Movement and the Civil Alliance of Serbia - members of the "Zajedno" coalition, nor the representatives of the Democratic Party of Serbia are taking part in the session.
Zoran Djindjic, one of the leaders of the "Zajedno" coalition, announced tonight that this coalition will "shortly" constitute the both the municipal and the city assemblies and that it will "immediately unblock the local media which was founded by the city, including the Belgrade television Studio B".
The supporters of the "Zajedno" coalition walked again from all the Belgrade communities to the 84th protest rally at Republic Square, where they were addressed by Vuk Draskovic, Vesna Pesic and Zoran Djindjic.
The Administrative Board of the Serbian Parliament took away the mandate from Nebojsa Covic this morning, on the request of the Representative Group of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), because he is no longer member of this party, and was excluded from it recently. The session of the Board, which was convoked by Slobodan Dugalic, deputy of its president and member of the SPS, was held at 8:00 this morning and lasted approximately twenty minutes.
Madeleine Albright, American state secretary, sent a harsh personal message to the Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, appealing to him to provide the recognition of the controversial electoral results and commence the dialogue with the political opposition, the State Department announced tonight. According to Nicholas Burns, representative of the State Department, Albright presented this invitation in a letter which was handed to Milosevic by the charge d'affairs of the American Embassy.
More than a hundred Belgrade attorneys protested and blew their whistles today, before the Serbian Parliament, where an emergency session concerning the adoption of the special law on the recognition of the local elections was in progress. After the brief stop in front of the Parliament building, they joined the Belgrade students.
The Main Board of the Student Protest 96/97 in Novi Sad harshly condemns the undefined attitude of the Educational-scientific Council of the University in Novi Sad about the decisions reached at the yesterday's session of the Council considering the main demand of the students - the cessation of all forms of educational activities, it is said in the public announcement of the Board. The announcement quotes: "By this act, the members of the Educational-scientific Council, who are supposed to be an example to our generation both in the areas of education and upbringing, showed that they are undeserving in the performance of their duties, because they are not prepared to take responsibility and to, at least, refuse the demands of the students".
The protests in Serbia will continue until the last mandate of the "Zajedno" coalition is confirmed, according to the original results of the local elections, Vuk Draskovic, President of the Serbian Renewal Movement announced today. He stated at a press conference that the adoption of the special law is insignificant unless its decrees are put into effect.
Helmut Lippelt, MP of the Alliance 90/the Green Party in the German Bundestag, who recently visited Belgrade where he met with the representatives of both the authorities and the opposition, accused Ljubisa Ristic, President of the Yugoslav Left that he, by the misuse of the democratic procedures and the state media, portrayed the visit of the German representatives as being supportive towards the FR Yugoslavia authorities. "First of all, I want to clarify that, when we requested a visa, your government, insisted that we meet with them as well as the opposition, and hear the arguments of your country's ruling parties. We accepted, since the democratic behavior demands for both sides to be heard. That was the only reason for our meeting with you. We had no intention whatsoever to give support to your government", Lippelt concludes.
The Italian state telecommunication company Stet is about to purchase 49 percent of the Serbian Postal Service, the London "Financial Times" published today on the basis of the reports from Milan and Belgrade. "This deal would inject life energy to the government of the Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, which is presently penniless", the world financial journal writes today.
A high functionary of the investment bank "Nat-west Markets" stated today for the Beta news agency that it is yet too early to announce an auction for the sale of parts of the telecommunication monopoly of the Serbian Postal system, although the preparations for this action have mostly already been conducted.
The students of the School of Political Sciences in Belgrade will organize a panel discussion on Friday, named "The electoral crisis and the functioning of a legal state", and have invited the representatives of all the significant political parties to attend.
The Serbian Parliament has accepted the reconstruction of the Government today. The reconstruction was suggested by Mirko Marjanovic, Prime-minister. Thirteen new members of the Government were elected, while seven were discharged from duty.
The School Council of the Law School in Kragujevac decided to suspend all the lectures at this school, on the initiative of the Protest Board of the students, and as a sign of protest against the intrusion of the police on the School of Philosophy in Belgrade in the night between February 2nd and 3rd. The members of the School Council unanimously adopted the students' demands for the recognition of the results of the November 17th elections as well as for all those responsible for the beatings of the students and the professors during the police intervention at the School of Philosophy to be publicly named and punished.
The Council of Parents of the elementary and high school students in Belgrade demanded form the Serbian Government to eliminate the causes for the strike in the field of education and announced the gathering of children, parents and grandparents in front of the Ministry of Education building on Thursday, February 13th at five minutes before noon.
The Civil Alliance of Serbia (GSS), member of the "Zajedno" coalition, warned all the potential foreign purchasers of the infrastructure systems in Serbia that the contracts they may sign with the ruling regime will be submitted to a "thorough revision" following the replacement of that regime. "All the potential buyers should know that nobody has authorized the regime to sell out the national resources of Serbia", Aleksandra Posarac, Vice-president of the GSS and the main economist of this party told the Beta news agency today. She added that the regime, which is out of funds, has resorted to the sellout of the infrastructure systems in the middle of a political crisis which it caused itself, and is now selling those systems for a very low price.
Thousands of citizens of Kragujevac and supporters of the "Zajedno" coalition left an iron club in front of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs, which was two meters long, thus protesting the police repression over the citizens in many Serbian cities.
Vladimir Pavlovic, member of the Executive Board of the Assembly of Nis, stated today at the protest of the "Zajedno" coalition in the center of Nis, before over 5000 residents of this city that the Republic Government has in fact been reconstructed, but that "the level of their incapability hasn't been altered".
The University Board for the Defence of Democracy announced today that "it raises its voice most severely" against the election of Jova Todorovic, Dean of the School of the Organizational Sciences for the Republic Minister of Education. The University Board cites that professor Todorovic, "at the time of the most difficult crisis of the whole educational system, the University especially, hasn't supported the Student Protest, nor joined the Deans who stood by their students and colleagues", which left him in the absolute minority, opposing the largest part of the University in Belgrade.
Approximately 2000 citizens of Pirot held another protest meeting on the account of the annulment of the local elections tonight, at the central town square. The citizens then went to a protest march through the city, lead by the local representatives of the oppositional coalition "Zajedno". During the walk, Nebojsa Icic, the MP of the "Zajedno" coalition was hit in the head by a brick which was thrown from a building. Fortunately, the horn that Icic was blowing mitigated the blow, so he received only slight injuries and cuts on his chin and on the right cheek.
One of the oldest and most distinguished international peace organizations - The International Bureau for Peace from Geneva, proposed that Vesna Pesic, President of the Civil Alliance of Serbia (GSS) be presented with the Nobel Prize for Peace, this party announced today. Pesic was nominated together with Selim Beslagic, President of the Union of the Bosnian Social-democrats and Vesna Teraslic, the peace activist from Zagreb, it is added in the announcement of the GSS.