News for February 14th, 1997
A procession of several thousands of students of the Belgrade University passed through Srpskih Vladara street at 14:00 and headed towards the School of Veterinary Medicine. At the same time, a group of 200 students, mainly from the Schools of Electrical Engineering, Technical Engineering and Technology arrived to a point 100 meters from the residency of Slobodan Milosevic on Dedinje, when they were stopped by the police. The students then turned back and headed towards the School of Veterinary Medicine.
The City Electoral Committee (GIK) in Nis has verified 48 delegate mandates for the "Zajedno" coalition, 21 mandates for the Serbian Socialist Party (SPS) and 1 mandate for the Serbian Radical Party (SRS). The decision to verify these mandates was made late last night by a special law adopted at the latest extraordinary session of the Serbian Parliament. "Zajedno" coalition representatives in Nis demanded the recognition of 54 mandates for the coalition, 15 for the Socialists and 1 for the Radicals.
The "Politika" Radio-Television shall not transmit its program for today since 130 permanent free-lance employees have announced a strike for 11:00 today. The free-lancers, who are the majority in the staff, shall go on strike because their last wages were payed out to them in November last year, but also because of their undefined status in this company, since many of the free-lancers have no rights at all, including the right to go on strike.
The main editor of the Belgrade Politika Television, Goran Kozic told the part-time associates to "find something better if they are not satisfied" with the work in this TV station. The part-time associates of TV Politika are on strike starting today because of unpaid fees and unresolved status. They demand the payment of December fees and the apology of Goran Kozic for the "ugly threats" towards some of the employees who announced the strike.
Milan Panic, ex-President of Yugoslavia stated in an interview for the latest edition of the NIN weekly magazine that, if he were to make another endeavor in politics, he would be glad if the Student Protest supported him. When asked wether it was possible that he should candidate for President of Yugoslavia or Serbia, Panic answered: "Possible? I am here. I never stopped being a candidate in case this was necessary. Formally, this cannot be discussed yet."
The Municipal Electoral Committee in Jagodina verified today 34 delegate mandates for the "Zajedno" coalition. This way the coalition won a majority of seats in the Municipal Assembly. The decision to verify the mandates was made this morning based on the special law adopted at the latest extraordinary session of the Serbian Parliament. The Electoral Committee is expected to release its individual decisions to all delegates during the day.
The negotiations between the educators and the representatives of the Serbian Government have been stoped for the second time today around 7 pm following the proposal of the Government for the wages in education to remain 220 dinars and for the coefficient to rise 20 percent. In the session of the negotiating team of the educators, held after the talks with the Governement, it was concluded that the Government had not fulfilled any of the demands. The negotiations will continue tomorrow at 4 pm.
Slobodan Vuksanovic, Spokesman for the Democratic Party, stated today that it is the duty of the "Zajedno" coalition to nominate staff members for the local government of Belgrade with best possible expertise and quality. When asked to comment on the candidacy of Danica Draskovic, wife of SPO leader, for President of the Executive Board of the Belgrade Assembly, Mr. Vuksanovic said at a press conference that "a personal question was not a problem" and that "nothing can cause any hostility between the parties in the "Zajedno" coalition".
The Fund for Human Rights says in its statement today that they have brought criminal charges against the policemen who have exercised physical violence on journalists who were carrying out their professional duties, reporting on the protests on the streets of Belgrade. The criminal charges are related to the police brutality exercised on the 24th, 25th and 27th of December last year, and 2nd and 3rd of February this year, it is stated in this report. Among the people who are facing criminal charges are are Milos Vukobrat Chief of Police in Stari Grad (part of Belgrade), Petar Zekovic, Chief of Police in Belgrade and Zoran Sokolovic, Minister of Internal Affairs in Serbia.
A police cordon prevented a few hundred cheated foreign currency saving account owners to approach the Presidency of Serbia. The account owners of state and quasi-private banks, who have lost their investments, had blocked traffic around 13:30 in Srpskih Vladara street, and one of them even lay down onto across the street threatening to stay there until his money was returned to him.
The fired and suspended employees of Channel 3 (3K) of Radio-Television Serbia complained to the Radmila Milentijevic, Minister of Information in the Serbian Government, that the RTS management are conducting a manhunt on Channel 3. In a letter to the Minister of Information that was forwarded to the media today, it is said that 5 employees of Channel 3 have been fired until now. "We are pleased and encouraged by Your statement which stresses certain limitations, especially on the Television", it is also said in the letter which reminds the Minister that the the employees are being harassed because of their support to the Student Protest. The letter also reminds that the Student Protest demands have been approved by the President, the Parliament and government of Serbia of which Ms. Milentijevic is a member.
The Board of Education and Science of the Democratic Party of Serbia supported the staff of primary schools and kindergartens in their demand for the right to live a dignified, professional and personal life.
The Youth of the Democratic Party of Serbia supported the continuation of the Student Protest until all its demands are met. The Recognizing of electoral results and possible dismissal of the Chancellor and Student Vice-Chancellor make an illusion of a crisis solution. This does not secure a return of citizen trust into a legal system, it is said in the statement of the Serbian Democratic Youth Union. It is essential that all people responsible for the electoral fraud and violence on the streets of Belgrade be revealed to the public and punished. This would enable us to overcome present crisis, it is concluded in the statement.
The Student Protest 1996/97 stated that the written promise by the Student Center Manager to hand over documents on the distribution of apartments in Student Dormitories, has not been fulfilled.
The Independent Syndicate of Drama Artists of Serbia and the Association of Drama Artists of Serbia (SDUS) appealed to their members to boycott the work of the Serbian National Radio-Television (RTS) until this television fulfills its obligations towards the artists and the authorities from RTS signs a legal contract with the syndicate of drama artists.
The president of the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) in Jagodina, Boban Filipovic invited the citizens of Kragujevac at the 74th protest against the annulment of the electoral results, not to stop the protests until all the mandates won in the second ballot of the local elections are acknowledged.
The Collegium of the University in Kragujevac supported the demands of the Student Protest '96/97 for the acknowledgement of the electoral will expressed in the local elections held on November 17. At today's session, the Collegium condemned the injuring of the autonomy of the University by the barging of the police into the School of Philosophy in Belgrade on February 3.
The County Electoral Committee in Sabac didn't neither accept Gonzales' report nor the special law which was adopted by the Serbian Parliament on February 11, which declares the final results of the local elections according to the OSCE report.
The president of the Serbian Parliament Dragan Tomic scheduled the constitutive session of the Parliament of Belgrade for February 21.
Jovan Kazic, the president of the Assembly in Stari Grad municipality in Belgrade, informed today Dragan Tomic, the president of Serbian Parliament, that there had been no disputes concerning the elections in this municipality and that there was no foundation for the implementation of the special law passed by Serbian Parliament on February 11. The constitutive session of the Stari Grad Assembly was held on December 9, 1996, when the delegate mandates were verified, explained Kazic in his letter for Tomic.
Vesna Pesic, the president of the Civic Alliance of Serbia (GSS), stated in Nis this evening that any further street protesting without a precisely determined aim would mean self-exhausting. In front of some 10,000 citizens of Nis, who have been protesting against the election manipulations for 89 days, Pesic said that the protests had been successful so far, and that they had the international support because both the citizens and the organizers knew exactly what they wanted to achieve.
Organized by coalition Zajedno, the 73rd protest rally against the annulment of the results of local elections was held in Leskovac this evening. The police did not prevent the citizens, some 2,000 of them, from gathering in the central town square.
Zoran Djindjic, one of the leaders of the oppositional coalition Zajedno, stated this evening in the protest rally in Belgrade that the protests would continue until all the municipalities in which the opposition had won have been constituted.
Vuk Draskovic, one of the leaders of the "Zajedno" coalition said to the demonstrators in Belgrade tonight that the special law, to general surprise of the public, was put into action very quickly and in accordance with the OSCE report and November 17th election results. "New Belgrade and Mladenovac are lost to us, but then again, they were not mentioned in Gonzales' report", said Mr. Draskovic at the 87. protest gathering of the "Zajedno" coalition in front of approximately 10,000 people. Strong police forces, who have been blocking protest marches since the 26th of December, were once again present in the City centre.
The adoption of a special law, which enabled the recognizing of local elections, is a continuation of a long history of the legal system violation, it was estimated by the guests of the discussion named "The electoral crisis and the functioning of a state of law", organized by the School of Political Sciences. Miodrag Jaksic, delegate for the SPO in Serbian Parliament said that the opposition parties should not take part in the next elections, if criminal charges are not brought against the people who have taken part in the election fraud last year. Milorad Jovanovic, Spokesman for the Democratic Party of Serbia said that the institutions of this system tried to hide the election fraud and end the electoral crisis in violence, although their role is to solve social conflicts.
The Council of Education and Science on the University in Novi Sad made s decision to resume classes on this university starting from February 17th. The Main Board of the Student Protest 1996/97 replied to this decision with a call to boycott the classes.