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Vol 2, No 18
9 May 2000
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Serbian News Review News from Serbia
All the important news
since 30 April

Vana Suša

Yugoslav businessman Zoran Uskoković, also known as Škole and beleived to be linked to the murder of Serb warlord Željko "Arkan" Ražnatović in January, was shot dead in a car chase in Belgrade on 27 April. Uskoković had denied any involvement in the shooting of Arkan. Television station Studio B reported a second person, 22-year-old Miloš Stevanović, a policeman on a sick leave, was also killed. The driver of the car, Petar Jokić, 34, was injured. Their Audi car was riddled with bullets. "It was so bloody scary. Two cars were chasing each other, firing at each other," one witness said about the event. Police sealed off the area and two bodies were put into a white van. Studio B said an empty car apparently used by the attackers was later found burnt out in another part of Belgrade. Two Kalashnikov automatic rifles used by the attackers were found, as well as two pistols used by Uskoković and Stevanović (Reuters).

On Friday 28 April, Radivoje Lukač, one of three bodyguards who were protecting Serbian Minister of the Finance Borivoj Milač, was killed. According to unofficial sources, Lukač a was policeman, who served as a bodyguard to Milač. Police authorities reported that a suspect, Dimitrije Đaković, has been arrested. Police stated in their report that: "Đaković had a pistol and other weapons that were used in this crime." According to other sources, another person was injured in the shooting (Danas, 28 April).

A Serb court, on Friday 28 April, jailed six men accused of plotting to kill Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević for up to five years. The six Serb men, who were members of a group called the Serb Liberation Army, were arrested last December and charged with forming a terrorist organisation with the aim of toppling the Constitutional order by force. "The court has unequivocally determined that they have committed the criminal act of conspiring to commit hostile activities linked to terrorism, acts of sabotage and the violent toppling of the Constitutional order," read the court's verdict. Boban Gajić, 26, Milutin Pavlović, 46, and Radovan Đjurdjević, 46, were each sentenced to five years in prison, while Miodrag Vukadinović, 64, and Ivan Milanović, 25, received three years each. Zoran Zdravković was sentenced to 18 months. Vukadinović, Milanović and Zdravković have been freed pending appeal. (Reuters)

Thousands of Serb workers and supporters gathered in central Belgrade on International Workers day, 1 May, and demanded that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević resign from office. "On this traditional workers' day, it is time to awaken and express a decisive 'no' to the regime of Slobodan Milosević," said Branislav Čanak, the president of the non-government trade union Nezavisnost (Independence), which organised the gathering. Nezavisnost said in a declaration that the workers had allowed Milošević to "push them to evil and hatred," and that he has isolated them from the rest of the world. "On this day, the moment has come to touch every hand that stretches out to help us, and the workers in Serbia must take responsibility for their role in the democratisation of Serbia," Nezavisnost said. The government-sponsored Serbian Trade Union Federation held a separate May Day gathering in Smederevo, a city "blasted by international power wielders" by the sanctions imposed on Yugoslavia (Danas, 3 April).

On 3 May, the Serbian Parliament elected 20 members from the ruling coalition to the upper house of the federal Yugoslav legislature, after the main opposition party boycotted the session. The Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), the only opposition party with significant representation in the Serbian Parliament, announced on Tuesday that it would not take part in the meeting. The SPO began boycotting the Parliament earlier this year, because authorities failed to track down and punish those responsible for the deaths of four party officials in a mysterious car crash last October. SPO blames the deaths on the state. The authorities have denied any involvement. That decision cleared the way for the coalition of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević to choose its own members for the upper house, where Serbia and the Republic of Montenegro have 20 seats each. The Serbian Parliament voted unanimously for 20 deputies from the three ruling parties - Milosevic's Socialist Party, the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party and the Yugoslav Left. The four seats in the upper house that belonged to the SPO were split between the Socialist Party and the Serbian Radical Party. SPO MP Milan Miković stated that: "The election of the new members of Parliament to the upper house will not contribute to the easing of tension in Yugoslavia, nor will it worsen them, because conditions cannot be worse than they are now." Miković added that the SPO "did not lose anything by losing its mandate in the upper house of the parliament" (Blic, 4 May).

On 2 May, in the city of Požarevac, activists from the Otpor (Resistance) movement were brutally beaten by employees of the Madona Disco Club, which is owned by Milošević's son, Marko. Otpor activist Momčilo Veljković told the Beta news agency that the whole incident was provoked by employees of this disco club. According to Veljković, everything started when he and his friend approached a table where Otpor activist Dragan Milovanović sat, surrounded by staff of the Madona disco club. The staff was trying to coerce Milovanović to become a member of one of the ruling parties. Upon Veljković's request to let Milovanović go, one of the workers attacked him. Police arrested three Otpor supporters on charges of attempted murder immediately after the incident. The Socialist Party accused Otpor of instigating the violence. "We will not tolerate provocations, violence and introductions of well-known fascist methods in the political life of our country, and we will use all legal means to safeguard ourselves, our people and our dignity," a party spokesperson said. The Yugoslav Left, led by Milošević's wife, Mirjana Marković, described the Otpor activists as "Hitler's Youth" and said a Yugoslav Left member had been beaten by them. "We will hold a rally in Požarevac to show that the opposition will not allow the beating up of young men and women from Otpor," said Goran Svilanović, the leader of the opposition Civic Alliance, in response to the incident. "We want to show there are no forbidden towns in this country, no prohibited places," he concluded.

Vana Suša, 6 May 2000

Moving on:


EU Focus:
Mel Huang
Between Helsinki and a Hard Place

Gusztáv Kosztolányi
Hungary Playing Hard to Get

Brian J Požun
Slovenia's Cities

Jens Boysen
German Hegemony

Rafał Riedel
Poland on Course

Robin Sheeran
Slovak Catch-up

Catherine Lovatt
Romanian Road to Reform

Jan Čulík
Anarchists on Parade

Gusztáv Kosztolányi
Hungarian Censorship

Oliver Craske
Britain Looks East

Andrew James Horton
Director Aleksei Balabanov

Elke de Wit
Football Flick

Wojtek Kość
Polish Sensation

Culture Calendar:

Sam Vaknin
Balkan Terrorists

Mel Huang
PR and Extremism

Czech Republic