News for February 18th, 1997

The Student Protest 96/97 harshly condemned the crashing of an automobile into the student procession, as well as all similar assaults on the peaceful demonstrators who are fighting for basic human rights. The white automobile of the "Tavria" trademark, with the licence plate number RU 727-35 ran into the procession of the students protesting on Terazije and the Kolarceva street today, a little after 14:00. According to the unconfirmed information, two students were slightly injured.

As the radio B92 discovers unofficially, the delegation of the Student Protest and the Deans of the University in Belgrade met with the Minister of Education Jova Todorovic today. The meeting was initiated by the Minister who conditioned the resignation of the Chancellor Dragan Velickovic with the previous return of the students to classes. B92 also unofficially discovers that the conclusion of their conversation was that there will be no cessation of the strike until their demands are completely fulfilled. The student representatives have denied that they even met with Minister Todorovic.

The leaders of the oppositional coalition "Zajedno" agreed today on the candidates for the most important functions in the City Assembly of Belgrade, which will have a constitutional session on Friday. One of the leaders of the oppositional coalition "Zajedno" and President of the Civil Alliance of Serbia Vesna Pesic stated today to the Radio Index that it was agreed that the candidate for the mayor of Belgrade will be the President of the Democratic Party Zoran Djindjic, and the President of the City Government will be the President of the City Board of the Serbian Renewal Movement Spasoje Krunic.

Yugoslavia cannot expect to be reinstated as a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during this year, writes today's Dnevni Telegraf, quoting sources in Washington. "All procedures for the repeated acceptation of Yugoslavia in the IMF have been stopped and there is no thought of that in this organization" states DT, explaining that the freezing of the procedures is a result of the political events in the country.

The former president of the county board of the Serbian Democratic Party (DSS) in Kragujevac, Gvozden Jovanovic stated today that the leadership of this party has in all ways boycotted the popular protest in Serbia, which has caused great "anger and revolt" in most of the county boards of DSS in Serbia.

The representatives of the coalition Zajedno in Leskovac announced, at last night's 76th protest gathering, the stopping of the demonstrations, but not their absolute ending. The protest programs will be held until the end of the year every Thursday between 4 and 8 o'clock at the Siroka Carsija plateau in the center of the city. The citizens have been invited to gather on Friday, February 21 and "celebrate the long awaited acknowledgement victory of the coalition Zajedno".

The Social-democratic Union (SDU) supported today the strike of the education workers, and essentially "their wisdom and conviction to fight united for their just demands." The statement also expresses the thought that the Serbian government is "attempting a new fraud" through the signing of a deal with the unauthorized president of the Alliance Counsil of the Independent Syndicates of Serbia, Tomislav Banovic.

The Fund for Human Rights invited the Republic Public prosecutor to refrain from the criminal charges brought against four attenders of the Belgrade demonstrations, who have already served their sentences of the alleged disturbance of peace and order.

The veteran journalists of Politika announced that they will propose to the journalist associations to organize a discussion regarding the situation in Politika and general Serbian journalism, since the editor in chief of Politika, Hadzi Dragan Antic hasn't answered their letter of February 10, in which they propose that such a discussion be organized within the paper's editorial.

The president of the Branch Syndicate of education workers of Serbia "Nezavisnost" Jelena Hristodulo stated today that the Serbian government is using RTS in order to propagate that the raise of the wages in education will cause hyper-inflation.

The president of the Serbian Democratic Party Vojislav Kostunica stated today that there is no arguments for the scheduling of an extraordinary session of the Party assembly, but that the party leadership will respect the Party rules and schedule an extraordinary session of the Assembly, if one third of the county delegates requests it.

About 1,000 education workers gathered today in the center of Subotica in sign of protest because of the agreement which was signed by the republic Prime Minister Mirko Marjanovic and the President of the Counsil of Independent Syndicates of Serbia, Tomislav Banovic regarding the ending of the education strike.

Ivan Kovacevic, spokesman for the Serbian Renewal Movement stated today in the name of the coalition Zajedno the "initial readiness" for a dialogue with the regime, but emphasized that the initiative for such an act should come from "the one who organized the panel discussions".

The strike of the education workers continued today in most of the elementary and high schools in Kragujevac. Classes were stopped in 19 elementary and all nine highs schools.

The president of the Counsil of Independent Syndicates of Serbia, Tomislav Banovic left the extraordinary session of the Independent Syndicate, at which it was estimated that his signature on the deal regarding the demands of the education workers and the ending of the strike - is invalid. "Since classes have not started in the schools and you are demanding my removal, the deal with Mirko Marjanovic is without responsibilities, but you bare the responsibility for not sticking to the deal" said Banovic before leaving the session. He said he only wanted to help get the children back to school.

Ivan Kovacevic, spokesman for the Serbian Renewal Movement stated that the coalition Zajedno will reveal proof of the theft on the federal elections, after the county parliaments have been constituted in the cities where the coalition has won.

The constitutional session of the city Parliament was held in Nis for the second time, after the acknowledgement of the temporary results of the local elections of November 17, based on the special law.

The part-time employees of RTV Politika have continued their strike and gathered today at 1 o'clock in front of the Politika company building.

The Executive Board of the Radio-television "Politika" expressed its support to Goran Kozic, chief editor of this house and to his editorial policy. As the Belgrade media report, The Executive Board of the RTV "Politika" also decided at the tonight's session that the number of the employees and free-lance associates be "adapted to the demands of the market", and that all debts to them be incurred in the course of this week.

The student protest at the University of Nis announced that the protest gatherings and boycott of class will end tomorrow. "We are turning towards work" states the proclamation of the protest which emphasizes that the demand of the students regarding the acknowledgement of the electoral results has been met as well as the constitution of the county and city parliaments. The third demand remains, but it will be fought through different means of confrontation.

The strike of the teachers in the elementary and high schools will continue until an agreement is reached between the Serbian Government and the legitimate representatives of the education employees, it was concluded at the today's extraordinary session of the Republic board of the Syndicate of the Employees in the fields of Education and Culture. The session was ended with the announcement of a rally of the teachers of Serbia tomorrow at noon before the building of the Republic Government.

In Liberation Square in Nis this evening, the 93rd and final citizen protest rally against the manipulations connected with the elections was held. Zoran Zivkovic, the Mayor of Nis and the vice-president of the Democratic Party, announced that the delegate team of coalition Zajedno had decided yesterday evening to end the protest gatherings, and added that "the formal closing ceremony" would be held on Friday, when the constitutive session of the City Assembly of Belgrade is to take place. In front of several thousand gathered citizens, Zivkovic said the proposal that the protest should continue till the republic elections in December was not a serious one. "Our demand that criminal charges be brought against those who stole at the elections has been fulfilled. The municipal public attorney in Leskovac has already taken certain measures against the members of the City Electoral Committee in Nis," added the Mayor of Nis.

The delegate team of the Serbian Socialist Party (SPS) in the Town Assembly of Leskovac rejected this evening the proposal of the Main board and of vice-president of the party Nikola Sainovic to vote nonconfidence in municipality president Gojko Velickovic and to suggest another person for that position.

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