News for December 11th, 1996
Members of the European Parliament today expressed solidarity with the people of Belgrade, whose peaceful demonstrations express a clear demand for democracy, political pluralism and respect for the will of the voters. At today's session, the EC parliament adopted a resolution by which it insists the official Belgrade recognize the validity of Nov. 17 election results. The resolution also calls for the impartial investigation of the conditions surrounding the recent elections in Serbia. According to the EC resolution, any investigation board charged with this task should include members of the opposition.
Supporters of coalition Zajedno held another street protest in Belgrade today. By now, they have been protesting for twenty-two days. At today's really, Vesna Pesic, leader of the Civil Alliance of Serbia, appealed to the West to find ways to punish Milosevic without imposing sanctions and further economic isolation on the Serbian people.
Colonel Milorad Veskovic gave a statement saying that the Supreme Headquarters of the Yugoslav Army are ambivalent to the recent electoral manipulation and added that "the annulment of the electoral results violates the Constitution. The army is obliged to protect the Constitution and to take a stand. Either we will be o the streets as an aid to the police force, or we will support the demands of the people." said colonel Veskovic in his statement.
Students of the School of Fine Arts today sent an open letter to Mira Markovic, leader of the Yugoslav United Left, in which, responding to her remarks about the student protest, they listed a number of occasions when the youth was used and manipulated to further the interests of the Left Coalition.
Today's protest of Belgrade students showed some new banner-signs: "Serbian Supreme Court: We Annul the Miss World Elections.", "Miracle Cure for Sore Feet Sold Here!", and others in the same vein.
In today's protest in Nis, only one tenth of the number of protesters from the previous days appeared in the streets. It is hard to say if the people are tired or out of patience, but it was clear the taxi-drivers and workers ignored the protest.
Today, Russian media again criticized official Moscow for "taking Milosevic's side and failing to support democratic changes in Serbia," reports Russian NTV television.
Leaders of the coalition Zajedno invited the citizens of Belgrade and other towns of Serbia to celebrate the Serbian orthodox family feast, Saint Nicholas, on December 19 in the streets, as well as Christmas, New Years Eve "and all other feasts until the final democratization of the country." Vuk Draskovic, Zoran Djindjic and Vesna Pesic called upon 80,000 citizens of Belgrade at today's 22nd day of the protest for because of the annulling of the local electoral results to endure because their duty is to bring democracy into Serbia.
Some 40,000 students of the Belgrade University walked to the headquarters of the Belgrade Student Alliance, on the 18th day of their peaceful protest of the disrespect of the electoral will of the citizens, and invited the representatives of that organization to meet them tomorrow at Plato in front of the School of Philosophy, refusing to enter their headquarters, because "what ever the Alliance has to say to the student delegation, it can also say to the tens of thousands of our colleagues."
Aleksandar Djukic, president of the Main Committee of the Student Protest '96, stated for the Beta press agency that the Belgrade students protest is a protest of citizens and not of nationalists, as the American New York Times described them.
At the protest meeting of around 10,000 students in Novi Sad, it was said that more than 180 volunteers signed up for the "March to Belgrade."
Lamberto Dini, the chief of the Italian diplomacy, will visit Belgrade tomorrow, and as he himself announced he is going to meet with Slobodan Milosevic, the President of Serbia, as well as his colleague Milan Milutinovic and representatives of the opposition.
Bill Clinton, president of the United States of America criticized Slobodan Milosevic, president of Serbia, for the annulling of the local electoral results and underlined that "the voice of the people should be heard."
The Greek government officially informed the government of FR Yugoslavia that democratization is the condition for the stabilizing of the region and the better relations between Yugoslavia and the countries of the European Community, stated Iorgos Papandreu, deputy-minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece.
The informative service of the electoral headquarters of the coalition Zajedno announced that Gojko Baletic, actor, was beaten in front of citizens by four policemen today at 15:00. It was reported, the incident occurred after the students procession and passed, and two policemen put huffs on his hands and took him in and unknown direction in a police car. The lawyers of the coalition Zajedno are at the City Ministry of Internal Affairs, demanding for the release of Baletic. Eyewitnesses stated gave writing statements concerning the event. The coalition Zajedno "warns the public that Milosevic is continuing the repressing and terrorizing of the citizens of Serbia, who are peacefully showing their discontent for the annulling of the local elections." It was also said that the torturing of Dejan Bulatovic was not a accidental event, but that it was an intention of the police "to frighten the citizens by beating demonstrators."