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Date: Sun, 1 Dec 96 16:40:38 CST
From: (Rich Winkel)
Subject: Serbia: Women in Black report on protests
/** 37.0 **/
** Topic: Women in Black report on protests **
** Written 11:58 AM Nov 27, 1996 by gn:warresisters in **
From: warresisters (War Resisters' International)

Report on protests in all of Serbia

By Stasa and Bojan (Women in Black), 25 November 1996

Belgrade - The opposition coaliation ZAJEDNO (Together) won in 34 major cities in the final round of local elections in Serbia, which were then annulled by the regime-controlled courts, using completely absurd explanations. This has provoked an enormous wave of protests throughout Serbia. Today, 25 November, there was the biggest protest so far in Belgrade, in which more than 100,000 people took part.

The police repression is extremely strong - especially in the countryside, where it is much easier to control and intimidate smaller numbers of people. By all different means, the regime is trying to provoke a violent response from the demonstrators and therefore to justify the use of tougher repression, such as bringing the army and tanks onto the streets to disperse demonstrators, as they did five years ago. Throughout Serbia reserve police and army forces are being mobilised. As well as the large contingents of police brought in from Kosovo (the region where they already maintain the state of apartheid against the Albanian majority) and are surrounding all the big cities.

Fortunately, their mechanisms of provocation have not succeeded in triggering a violent response and today the only "consequence" after the protest of more than 100,000 people were thousands of broken eggs on the building of the state television, which is united with the army and police and the strongest weapon in the regime's hands.

The attitude of Western "democratic" governments is not to seriously care about these dramatic events, where we witness the citizens of Serbia fighting for their basic human and civic rights (such as the right to elect representatives) which are being so severely repressed by the regime, which is threatening to impose an open dictatorship. Western government representatives are expressing only a "worry" over the current situation in Serbia. Very different to their open support to the regime in the pre-electoral campaign, when dignitaries made official visits to the ruling party, pompous visits to factories managed by the war mafia of the regime, and gave interviews to the official media. The weak response of the itnernational community towards teh ctizens of Serbia, who insist on expressing their free will, reminds us of such famous examples as Chile, Argentina, East Timor . . .

And why is it so?

  • Because the Western governments want to preserve Milosevic, who they previously described as the Balkan butcher and war criminal but now have converted to the key factor in the peace process, the guarantor of the Dayton agreement??!!??
  • Western governments prefer having a "stable" and confident dictatorship than a state which respects human rights (like the case of so many countries in turbulent regions - Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt ...)
  • It is easier to advance the interests of the Western military-industrial complex through obedient oligarchic structures.

Since the Dayton agreement, when Milosevic and Tudjman were inaugurated as the peace guarantors, Western governments have given them a green light for the political, economic and psychological repression that we usually describe as low intensity warfare against one's own people. This repression is culminating these days, while Western governments are observing it with indolence and indifference.

Stasa and Bojan,
Belgrade, 25 November 1996