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nettime: report from belgrad
Geert Lovink on Tue, 26 Nov 96 09:25 MET


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nettime: report from belgrad


>From drazen {AT} opennet.org Mon Nov 25 23:36:58 1996

Time for justice!

The second round of municipal elections in Serbia turned out in something
nobody could expect. After triumphal victory on the federal level for ruling
party and its satellites, local municipal elections in their second (and it
should be) final round showed totally different picture. In 15 of 18 major
sites in Serbia ruling party of Slobodan Milosevich suffered great losses,
and opposition coalition "Together" took vast majority of votes. In some
cities, like Belgrade, opposition took more then 90% of votes and it turned
out to be disastrous debacle for Slobodan Milosevich. The results of
elections imply that the opposition should take total control of all major
industrial cities in Serbia.

So, after urban population showed its will, the ruling party and its
infrastructure of corrupt judges and courts has denied the results of
elections, due to "irregularities". So they cancelled results of elections
in almost all places where they were in minority and called for a third
round that should take place on Wednesday. (For example in Belgrade
opposition took 70 mandates of 120, but after "legal intervention" the
number was lowered to 27!)

All that caused revolt of people all around Serbia, so huge protests on the
streets of cities started. Today is the sixth day of protests, and only in
Belgrade more then 200 000 people protested for more then six hours in a
very cold winter day. Every day at 15:00  protests start, and people
peacefully express their claims so that their will should be respected.
Today students from Belgrade University entered into the protest and claimed
that they will not go back to classrooms until the government does not obey
the results of elections.

The radio B92 is the only electronic independent medium in Belgrade and is
the only source of reliable information. During regular protest routine,
demonstrants go every day in front of regime's TV station and newspapers and
express their revolt and at the end of march they come in front of B92 and
show their gratitude for the incredible effort and enthusiasm of B92
journalists.  
On several occasions we expected that police will step in and close the
radio (as well as its Internet department) but happily we are operational so
far.

Nobody could predict how and when this will end. Both sides are firmly on
their standpoints. People want justice for their free political will and
Milosevich does not want to lose even tiny bit of its ruling power. Until
now everything went without incidents, and everybody expects it will stay
that way. But, the tension is rising every day, as well as the number of
demonstants on the streets.

Hopping that justice will win in the end 
Drazen Pantic




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