Zarana Papic on Thu, 11 Nov 1999 02:26:33 +0100

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Syndicate: Belgrade: Police raid, from Ad Hoc Coalition Women's Political Rights]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Belgrade:  Police raid on student protest
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1999 18:46:53 +0100
From: "Women's Center Belgrade" <awcasv@EUNET.YU>

Report from the Ad Hoc Coalition for the Women's Political Rights

dear friends,

Yesterday it was 9 of November, somewhere known as the
International Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism. The Serbian
parliament had a session in which the opposition parties submitted
a demand for new elections. Therefore for that day Belgrade
students organisations, under the title "Protest"  (about 8
organizations), announced the protest march at 1pm, while the
oppositional political parties gathered in "Alliance for Changes"
announced their protest at 3pm.

Feminists, from various NGO-s, organized around the Ad Hoc
Coalition for Women's Political Rights. We chose this political
occasion to print 6.000 leaflets, with basic demand for involvement
in decision making processes, and distribute them on the streets
of Belgrade.

Despite the constant rain and strong wind all day yesterday couple
of thousand students gathered on the students' protest . We were
also there -  seven activists from the Ad Hoc Coalition - to give our
support to students, to monitor the protest and distribute our
leaflets. In their march the students walked by the faculty buildings
in the center of the town:  Technology, Engineering,
Law... screaming "Get Out" - demanding symbolical liberation of
the Belgrade University.

In one moment when we turned in rather narrow street, the police
showed up from the front side and started to beat randomly... so
everyone started to run. it turned into a crowd in panic.  It was a
fearful stampede with people pushing, screaming and falling. Only
ten minutes later the new brutal and severe police attack started
again. Just when the students and citizens somehow exceeded
their panic fear and continued to walk, on the wide street in the
front of the Yugoslav parliament, police forces started to push from
the back. Again running, wounds, anger and panic production.

In the evening the feminists from the Ad Hoc Coalition met again.
We noted:
    - one thousand leaflets were distributed
    - three activists were hurt in stampede
    - all of us felt at moments very bad, because of the Serbian
political situation, and because some students were shouting to
the police "Go to Kosovo"  and "You are Ustashes" (Ustashes
were Croat soldiers supporting German nazis in the Second World
War) and in this way reproducing hatred and the "enemy'.
        - hundreds of students were exposed to fear and panic - very
well known violation of human rights in fascist regimes: violation of
human right to life without fear.

In the evening, in the independed media, it was reported that more
than 50 students were wounded, some of them badly, but none of
them went to the official hospital. On the regime media there was
not a single word about the protest and beating, only 10 minutes of
hate speech about "Protest students" how they are payed by
NATO etc.

As well, citizens that gathered at 3 p.m. for the opposition march
were blocked by the police and were not allowed to walk the
streets as planned.

Also, more than 30 buses with citizens from different towns in
Serbia were prevented from reaching Belgrade and joining the
demonstrations. They were stopped by police with explanation that
buses were not technicaly OK, and that "buses with protesters
pollute the enviroment with exaust gas"!

Feminists from the Ad Hoc Coalition feel that at the moment on
one side the regime is ready to do anything to protesters: so shoot
to beat to imprison... since the police on the streets are those
"specials" who practised torturing Albanian citizens in Kosovo in
the last ten years, on the other hand the regime knows that
international public is monitoring Belgrade, waiting to get "Him" for
Den Haag Tribunal, and that also, many people are against the
regime and that therefore the low intensity torturing is more
efficient; stopping buses, "only" beating and not imprisoning,
making obstacles in every way for independed media, for example
making constructions on places where protesters meet... etc

Ad Hoc Coalition for Women's Political Rights
Belgrade, 10 of November 1999

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