Slobodan Markovic on 6 Oct 2000 18:07:56 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Eruption of people's wrath!

    "Eruption of people's wrath" was the headline in today's issue of
    one of Belgrade's daily newspapers. After a lot of thinking about
    all that happened, I can only say that it is the most accurate
    description of what has happened in Belgrade.

    Around a MILLION people from all around Serbia gathered yesterday
    on a big protest rally in front of the Federal Parliament building
    in Belgrade. That protest was supposed to be the peak of a mass
    civil disobedience campaign started in Serbia after the elections
    for Yugoslav president, where opposition candidate - Dr Vojislav
    Kostunica beat Slobodan Milosevic, and Milosevic's regime refused
    to acknowledge the election results and back off.

    The rally was scheduled to begin at 3 PM, but the city's downtown
    was crowded with people and busses around 10 AM already.

    Citizens and workers successfully fought their way to Belgrade,
    breaking through a lot of police barricades that were set for
    them on almost all major roads in Serbia. The most radical ones
    were people from the city of Chachak, who came to Belgrade with
    a digger truck!  :-)

    While people were still gathering, a group of the most radical
    protesters tried to enter the Federal Parliament building, but
    were pushed back by some 50 riot policeman, who used batons and
    tear gas. After that incident everything calmed down for a while
    and police forces backed off into interior of the Federal
    Parliament building.

    Around 2 PM the official program of the protest rally started
    and opposition leaders begin addressing the crowd. That lasted
    until around 3:30 PM.

    Soon after police helicopter flew over the crowd, a group of
    people tried to enter the Federal Parliament building again.
    This time they were backed by a much larger crowd and succeeded
    in breaking the front doors.

    Police than used a large quantity of tear gas and dispersed the
    crowd on the plateau in front of the Federal Parliament building.

    Small police forces situated in the building had no chance against
    the protesters, who quickly blocked all approaches to the plateau
    with trash cans, cars, busses, etc. After the plateau was blocked
    and tear gas dispersed a bit, the crowd returned to the building
    and kicked out all police forces. A few police trucks and cars
    parked behind the Parliament building were set on fire.

    After the Parliament building was liberated protesters turned to
    National TV building, which is situated only a block away.

    With a little help from that crazy digging truck, the protesters
    broke into the building, chasing some 200 riot police forces out.
    During the building's siege someone throw a Molotov cocktail into
    it, so three out of five floors burned out.

    It was 5:30 PM, when protesters finished with National TV and
    dispersed trough the city's downtown. Soon afterwards, police
    surrendered one of the neighboring stations to the protesters.

    Special police and army anti-terrorist forces went out from
    their armored vehicles and joined the protesters. A few hours
    later around 30 police and army trucks left the downtown area.

    Between 5:30 PM and 6 PM media houses in Belgrade started
    "switching frequencies". Studio B started broadcasting fresh
    news about the situation in Belgrade using all of their radio
    and TV channels. Around the same time, another group of
    protesters liberated Radio B92's premises and the old crew
    started broadcasting on 92,5 MHz FM again! Three out of six
    radio frequency jammers that were interfering with programme
    of Index Radio for more than a month, were also found and

    Between 6 PM and 9:30 PM all major TV and radio stations in
    Belgrade changed their editorial policy! Even the strongest
    bastions of Milosevic's regime "flipped the vinyl" and stared
    broadcasting fresh news about the riots: "Politika" TV, radio
    and daily newspaper; "Novosti" daily newspaper, the national
    news agency TANJUG and all channels of Serbian National Radio
    and TV (RTS).

    Even the two most popular mass-entertainment trash-media in
    Belgrade - Pink TV and Koshava TV, both connected with
    Milosevic's regime, interrupted their programs.

    Only two days ago we had the situation where only two radio
    stations were transmitting uncensored news on FM waves and even
    that feed was heavily jammed. Suddenly, in only a few hours,
    the complete media landscape in Serbia changed! The so-called
    "regime controlled media" just disappeared. Simple as that!

    Around 9:30 PM, everything was over and people started
    celebrating. Belgrade's downtown was COMPLETELY free of any
    police forces. Army stayed in their barracks.

    The rage lasted for only a few hours and Milosevic's regime
    collapsed like it was made from sand.

    Epilogue of the riots: two injured policeman, about 90 injured
    protesters and two unfortunate deaths (not directly connected
    to confrontation with police forces).

    I'm SO PROUD of people in Serbia who did everything in such
    manner, after ten years of living under constant tension and
    fear. I have never heard or seen that an extremely oppressive
    regime was completely beaten on the streets in barely six
    hours, without any bloodshed.

    All the best from Belgrade,
                  Slobodan Markovic (twiddle@eunet.yu)
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