News for February 17th, 1997
More than 10,000 Belgrade students started before 13.30 for their 88th protest walk through the central city streets. They passed by the Serbian government in order to give their support to the teachers which are striking there. Cedomir Jovanovic of the Initiative Board said that the students will "finish what they began on November 22nd".
Dusan Vasiljevic, spokesman for the Student Protest '96/97 stated today that the protest of the students will continue until the demands have been met. At the press conference Vasiljevic said that the protest will "win" and that "the Chancellor will have to be changed". Vasiljevic expressed his hope that "perhaps today there will be concrete results".
Cedomir Jovanovic, member of the Initiative Board of the Student Protest '96/97 stated that the citizens of Mladenovac are disappointed that their county is not in the OSCE report. They feel abandoned and lonely, stated Jovanovic who was in Mladenovac yesterday, where he spoke with the citizens of this Belgrade county in which the coalition Zajedno received a majority of the votes.
More than 10,000 teachers, parents and pupils protested today in front of the building of the Serbian government against yesterday's misunderstanding between the president of the Serbian government Mirko Marjanovic and the president of the Council of Syndicates Tomislav Banovic, which was signed without the consent of the negotiation team of the education workers. Up to yesterday's agreement, 1,800 out of 2,200 schools in Serbia were in strike. There is no information considering how many schools stopped the strike after the signing.
The Democratic Party announced today that the Government of the Republic of Serbia has interrupted the negotiations with the delegation of the professors because "it doesn't want to fulfill the justified demands of the employees in the field of education". "Instead, the Government has decided to sign the alleged agreement with Tomislav Banovic, member of the Main Board of the Socialist Party of Serbia and President of the non-existent state syndicate", it is pointed out in the announcement.
The part-time associates of RTV Politika continued their strike today with the gathering at 11 o'clock in front of the Politika company building. The part-time sent a letter to the president of the Managing Board of the RTV Politika Ljubomir Mihajlovic in which they demand a discussion regarding the stated demands.
The representative of the syndicate of the employees of pre-school institutions in Belgrade, Marija Tunic said today that the "workers in the kindergartens of Belgrade are in tolerant agony, and that it seems as though the fact that 50,000 children in this city are staying at home is benefiting someone." The members of this syndicate have been in strike the past eight days, demanding a raise from 220 (44 USD) to 504 dinars (100 USD). The representatives of the syndicate have spoken to the newly appointed minister for the family care, Bratislava Morina, who told them that she still doesn't know whether the strike in the kindergartens is in her jurisdiction because she still has not been informed of her duties.
Radmila Milentijevic, newly elected Minister for Information in the Serbian Government, stated that she accepted this function because she wants to assist the Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. When asked what her evaluation of the program of the Radio-television of Serbia (RTS) is, and whether she will take actions concerning this issue, since it is a state television, she replied that "she didn't come here to change the program of the RTS or the news", but that she will attempt to point at its faults and make the RTS an example of a professional media, since it covers the whole territory of the state and that "the news must reflect the actual life in Serbia".
Zoran Djindjic, one of the leaders of the "Zajedno" coalition, and President of the Democratic Party stated today that this coalition accepts a round table as a method of reaching agreement between the authorities and the opposition on the liberation of the media, but that it won't participate in any panel discussions. In an interview to the Radio Jagodina, Djindjic refereed to the proposal for the opposition to take over one of the programs of the Radio-television of Serbia as "bad", since "not too many citizens opt for a specific party, and the parties don't have the right to distribute public goods among themselves".
The Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) will most likely support the nomination of Zoran Djindjic for mayor of Belgrade, the today's "Dnevni Telegraf" writes. The SPO will nominate their candidates for the other functions: Milan Bozic for the Vice-president of the City Parliament, and Danica Draskovic or Pavle Krunic for the City Prime-minister.
The leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) and one of the leaders of the coalition Zajedno, Vuk Draskovic stated today that it is the proposal of SPO that his wife Danica be the president of the City Parliament in Belgrade, but that he will veto this proposal.
The strike of the schools in Uzice was continued today, despite the last night's proclamation that the representatives of the Republic Board of the Association of the Education Syndicates of Serbia reached an agreement with the Serbian Government which eliminates the causes of their strike. The Municipal Syndicate of Education in Uzice announced today that the strike is to be continued, "as the negotiation team and the Republic Board of the employees in the education have not agreed with the Government on the fulfillment of their demands". It is added in the announcement that the Municipal Board requests the resignation of Tomislav Banovic, the president of the Council of Independent syndicates of Serbia, because "he signed the agreement without authorization and he deceived the public, attempting to turn it against the educators".
The district board of the syndicate of education, science and culture workers for the Pirot district decided today to continue the strike in the elementary and high schools. At the same time the Republic Board of the syndicate has been authorized to continue negotiations with the Serbian government until the final agreement.
The district board of the syndicate of education, science and culture workers of the Jablan district supported the decision of the Republic board of the Independent syndicate of education regarding the continuation of the strike of education workers.
The teachers of 54 elementary and high schools in Nis refused to accept the deal of the Republic government and the Alliance of Independent Syndicates of Serbia to stop their strike.
The Serbian P.E.N-center has backed the determination of the teachers in Serbia to persist in their struggle for the change and the important of their social standing and material position.
The 25th Fest ended last night in the same way it started on January 31, with loud whistling, which accompanied the speech of the president of the Council of the festival Milutin Colic. Before the beginning of the movie "Michael Collins", Colic went on stage and stated that "we stopped the Fest, in fear that we would be wrong not to stop it". This caused whistling and great delegation the public.
The president of the Serbian Parliament Dragan Tomic scheduled the constitutional session of the Parliament of Nis for February 18 and the Parliaments of Kraljevo, Uzice and Sabac for February 21 announced Belgrade media. According to Tomic's decision, on Tuesday February 25th the Parliaments of Smederevska Palanka, Vrsac, Soko Banja, Pancevo, Zrenjanin, Jagodina, Savski Venac, Rakovica and Cukarica should be constituted. The constitutional sessions of the Parliament of Belgrade, Pirot and the Belgrade municipalities of Vracar, Palilula and Stari Grad have already been scheduled. The remaining sessions to be announced are for the Parliament of Kragujevac, Lapovo and the Belgrade municipalities of Vozdovac and Zvezdara.
Vladimir Pavlovic, member of the city government of Nis stated tonight that the protest of the coalition Zajedno in Nis will most likely end tomorrow. Pavlovic announced to the few hundred citizens of Nis who gathered on the 92nd day of protest against the electoral manipulations, that the coalition Zajedno will give the authorities two weeks to free the media, change the election conditions and schedule early republic and presidential elections.
The municipal board of the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) in Kragujevac refused today to accept the decision of the DSS leadership to exclude certain eminent DSS members from the party. In their today's session, the members of the municipal board of DSS in Kragujevac adopted the attitude that the information about the exclusion of certain eminent members of DSS, published in media, cannot be taken seriously, since the party leadership had not informed the Kragujevac board of that decision.