News for February 27th, 1997

The Deans of Belgrade schools and managers of the institutes who came to the session of the Scientific-educational Council today found the door of the Chancellor's office locked. A police car was parked in front of the building and, according to some of the professors, police officers in plain clothes entered it. The session of the Scientific-educational Council, which had been called by the eldest Vice-Chancellor, professor Dragan Kuburovic, would be held at the School of Philosophy, decided the Deans on the spot.

Belgrade students surrounded the Chancellor's office today, which was a gesture of protest provoked by the fact that the door of the office had been locked although the eldest Vice-Chancellor, Dragan Kuburovic, had announced the session of the Scientific-educational Council (NNV) for 13:00. The students, who have been protesting for 98 days now, surrounded the building after it had been announced that armed police officers, called by Chancellor Dragutin Velickovic to prevent the session of the NNV, were inside. Cedomir Jovanovic, a member of the Initiative Board of the Student Protest 96/97, stated that students would return to classrooms only when Chancellor Dragutin Velickovic and Student Vice-Chancellor Vojin Djurdjevic have been dismissed, and demanded of the NNV members to leave the decision about the return to schools to the Main Board of the Student Protest. He approved of the election of Dragan Kuburovic as the acting Chancellor of Belgrade University. The students gathered in the square in front of the School of Philosophy started their protest walk along the city streets at 16:00.

The Scientific-educational Council (NNV) of Belgrade University elected today professor Dragan Kuburovic, the eldest Vice-Chancellor, the acting Chancellor. The session of the NNV was attended by 26 of 30 representatives of Belgrade schools and by seven of eight University institutes.

The Scientific-educational Council (NNV) of Belgrade University called upon the European conference of chancellors to support the demands of the Student Protest 96/97 and not to consider professor Dragutin Velickovic the Chancellor of Belgrade University any longer. The Scientific-educational Council sent a letter to the European conference of chancellors, informing them about the present crisis at Belgrade University and stressing the fact that neither the Council nor the huge majority of the Deans recognize Velickovic as the Chancellor.

Around 1,000 teachers at primary and secondary schools, students and parents gathered in front of the Serbian Government building in Belgrade at 14:30 today. The traffic in the junction of Kneza Milosa and Nemanjina streets was stopped. The protest rally was organized by several syndicates of teachers, as well as by the City Board of the Independent education syndicate, the representatives of which should discuss whether to leave the republic education syndicate. After the gathering in front of the Serbian Government, it was planned that the participants of the protest should join the rally organized by the Forum of Parents, with the support of the City Assembly, in Republic Square.

The leaders of coalition Zajedno invited Prince Aleksandar, the son of the last Yugoslav king, to return to Serbia as the monarch. Vuk Draskovic, one of the Zajedno leaders, stated that Prince Aleksandar could have a role similar to that of Spanish king Juan Carlos.

Vuk Draskovic, the president of the Serbian Renewal Movement, has stated that in the talks with British politicians, the leaders of coalition Zajedno attempted not only to ensure declarative and diplomatic, but also concrete help for the cities in which that coalition won the local elections. When asked to comment on the relations between the parties joined in coalition Zajedno (Together), Draskovic said: "Even if we did not want to be together, we would have to be together."

The Mayor of Belgrade, Zoran Djindjic, who is in London together with Vuk Draskovic and Vesna Pesic, has stated for the "Blic" newspaper that he invited Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic, the Heir to the Throne, to be the guest of the Belgrade City Assembly.

The session of Belgrade University Assembly shall be held at the School of Mechanical Engineering on March 2, decided the Scientific-educational Council of the University today. The Assembly shall discuss the crisis at the University and the draft of the new University Law. The Scientific-educational Council appointed today a work-group which shall prepare the draft of the University Law for the Assembly.

Students of the School of Forestry in Belgrade voted nonconfidence in the Dean and the Student Vice-Dean at their school, Dusan Jovic and Slavko Mladenovic, by referendum, announced the Student Protest 96/97 today. The Dean of the School of Forestry has not supported the Student Protest and he does not cooperate with the majority of Belgrade Deans and managers of the eight institutes. According to the announcement, the students of the School of Forestry will elect a new Student Vice-Dean in their assembly at 10:00 tomorrow.

The effects of the Student Protest 96/97 will be manifest only after the demonstrations have ended, and under the condition that the students organize discussions at their schools, expressing all the differences which exist among them and which must normally appear, said Dragoljub Micunovic, the president of the Democratic Center party, in the course of this evening's discussion "Student Protest 68 - 91/92 - 96/97, a parallel analysis". He stated that the student demonstrations 1968, 1991, 1992 and 1996 all had their distinct characteristics because they took place in different political systems and under different international conditions.

Constituting of all the organs of local self-management being completed, the conditions for the dialogue between the authorities and the opposition about democratization of the society, freedom of the media and electoral procedure exist now, said Zarko Jokanovic, the head of the New Democracy delegate team in Serbian Parliament, in a press conference today. He appealed to the ruling party and the opposition to enter the dialogue, in order to reduce the tension inside the country and provide the conditions for the return in the international community.

Aleksandar Stefanovic, a representative of the New Democracy (ND), stated, after he consulted with mandatary Radoje Kontic about the structure of the new Serbian Government, that the ND would insist that the Government should consist of brave and expert people, and that it should be distinctly oriented towards returning to Europe. He pointed out that he expected Svetozar Krstic to become the vice-president for the field of monetary politics or economic relations with foreign countries.

Dragor Hiber, the president of the Executive Board of the Civic Alliance of Serbia (GSS), stated today that students' insisting on the continuation of the protest till all their demands are fulfilled is legitimate. Hiber expressed serious concern about the way the teachers' strike in Serbia is being broken through syndicates. He said that syndical organizations should be strengthened, so that social tensions should not be resolved in an uncontrolled manner and in the streets.

Dragor Hiber, president of the Executive Board of the Civic Alliance of Serbia (GSS) and head of the legal service of coalition Zajedno, stated today that the coalition would, by the end of the week, bring criminal charges against the members of the electoral committees who had falsified the election results. He announced that coalition Zajedno would bring criminal charges against those who ordered and participated in the bashing of citizens, when they are "precisely identified".

Zoran Djindjic, the new Mayor of Belgrade, sent a message to American Congressman Bruce Went and his colleagues, in which he thanked them for the support they had given the Student Protest and coalition Zajedno during the three-month demonstrations in Belgrade and other Serbian cities, reports Slobodan Pavlovic, the correspondent of the "Nasa Borba", for FoNet.

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