Disintegration Years 1988-2000


Since it is still too early for writing of the latest history of Belgrade, we give you a survey of the well-known mass events which marked the time of autocracy of Slobodan Milošević.

March 2, 1988, in front of the building of the Federal Assembly - The first great rally in Belgrade
Slobodan Milošević addressed the gathered students, citizens from Kosovo and Metohija and workers: "Soon, all the names will be known publicly, and I want to tell you that the ones who manipulated people in order to achieve political goals against Yugoslavia, will be punished and arrested." The mass yelled: "Arrest Vlasi!" (Vlasi - a Albanian comunist lider from Kosovo), and Slobodan Milošević replied: "I can't hear you well, but I will arrest him!".
(according to the report of the TV Belgrade, there were 300,000 people, while according to "other" media there were between 30,000 and 50,000 people)

November 18, 1988, Ušće - State rally of inauguration of Slobodan Milošević
The President of the Presidency of the Central Committee of the Serbian League of Communists, Slobodan Milošević, addressing to the citizens brought by factory buses to Ušće, said: "We will win the battle for Kosovo regardless of the obstacles placed in front of us in the country and abroad. So, we will win regardless of the uniting of our enemies from abroad and those in the country. And that this nation will win the battle for freedom, is a fact well-known even to the Turkish and German conquerors."
(according to the report of the TV Belgrade about a million people were present, according to others, few hundred thousand people)

March 9, 1991, Trg Republike - The first great rally of the Serbian Opposition
Because of the refusal of the TV Belgrade to broadcast the denial of the Serbian Renewal Movement, Vuk Drašković made a rally of the Serbian Opposition at Trg Republike, with the main request for resignation of the director and four editors of the state TV station. The Opposition leaders addressed the gathered citizens from the balcony of the National Theatre, while the police on horses tried to disperse the demonstrators. Later, they used water-cannons, beat the demonstrators, while two people got killed: Branislav Milinović (demonstrator) and Nedeljko Kosović (policeman). The tanks appeared in the streets of the capital. The work of the independent stations B92 and NTV Studio B was prohibited. In his statement on the TV Belgrade he called the demonstrators "the powers of chaos and insanity".
(according to the report of the TV Belgrade only a few thousand "hooligans" were present, while according to the independent media, the number was over 50,000)

March 10-11, 1991, Terazije fountain - The first student protest
As an answer to the tanks in the center of Belgrade, the students started to march from Studentski grad towards the city center. They were stopped by the police at Branko's bridge. The police threw the tear gas on the students and beat up some of them. Zoran Đinđić negotiated with the police and it let the group of 5,000 students to join the demonstrators - students - at the Terazije fountain. The demonstrators had 8 demands, among them the requests for resignations of Dušan Mitević, the director of the Radio-Television Belgrade, four editors of the TV Belgrade, and the minister of internal affairs Radmilo Bogdanović and enable the work of the Radio B92 and NTV Studio B. (government media informed about a small group, while according to the report of the NTV Studio B there were about 20,000 people)

March 11, 1991, Ušće - The first Socialist counter-rally
Organized by the Socialist Party of Serbia, the rally "For the Defence of the Republic, for Constitutionality, Freedom and Democracy" took place at Ušće. With Kozaračko Kolo (folk dance) and shouts: "Slobo, slobodo" (Slobo = short for Slobodan, the name meaning "freedom", thus "Slobo, freedom"), "Murderers, fascists", "We won't give Kosovo away", "Ustaša, ustaša" (this one addressed to Croatian nationalists), "Trial for Vuk" (Drašković). Dušan Matković, Petar Škundrić, the academician Mihajlo Marković, Živorad Igić and Radoman Božović addressed the gathered people. Matković said the students gathered at Terazije were hooligans and invited the crowd to go to Terazije and fight them.
(The TV Belgrade and Politika reported the number of 150,000, independent media said there were some 30,000 people)

June 15 - July 10, 1992, the Student Protest
Because the international community imposed sanctions on Belgrade on May 30, the students requested resignation of Slobodan Milošević, the President of Serbia. They were supported by the students of Novi Sad, Niš, Kragujevac and Priština. A delegation of students and professors had a meeting with Milošević, who said he had support of workers, farmers and citizens, and so did not want to resign. After the meeting, one of the students said that "not even a nuclear bomb would drive the President away". The President did not resign and the protest ended with the resignation of the rector of the Belgrade University Rajko Vračar.

June 28 - July 5, 1992, in front of the building of the National Assembly - The Vidovdanski Sabor (gathering of the Serbian Opposition)
The Opposition, organized into the DEPOS, demanded the resignation of Slobodan Milošević, and the crown-prince Aleksandar Karađorđević joined them, having come to Serbia for the first time. On the first day of the Sabor, Patriarch Pavle, the crown-prince Aleksandar Karađorđević and all the leaders of the Opposition organized into the DEPOS addressed the gathered demonstrators.
(according to the Radio-Television of Serbia on the first day some tens of thousands "accidental passers-by" were present, the Studio B reported about 700,000, and foreign news agencies reported the number of 200-500 thousand)

July 1993, the Federal Assembly - Arresting of Drašković
After Branislav Vakić, MP, a member of the Serbian Radical Party knocked down Mihajlo Marković, MP, a member of the Serbian Renewal Movement, the demonstrations broke out. That caused arresting of Vuk and his wife Danica Drašković. After the intervention of various humanitarian organizations, arrival of Mrs. Danielle Mitterand, demonstrations at Trg Republike and the letter written by Drašković to Milošević, the President of Serbia granted freedom to Vuk and Danica Drašković.


November 1996 - February 1997, all over Serbia - Citizens' and student protests
After the theft at local elections, the Zajedno coalition organized daily protests of citizens in the major towns of Serbia. Along with citizens' protests began the student demonstrations. the whistles and the walks were the characteristics of these protests, but there were also the police cordons, brought from the provinces. The Serbian Orthodox Church and Patriarch Pavle took part in one of the "breaches of cordon". The results of the elections (i.e. victory of the Opposition at local level) were acknowledged after the visit of Felipe Gonzalez and after Milošević's "lex specialis".
(the protests lasted for three months)

December 24, 1996, Terazije - Socialist counter-rally
The SPS organized a counter-rally, when even Milošević himself addressed his supporters. In reply to the chants "Slobo, we love you" the President said: "I love you, too". Before, during and after this rally there were several conflict situations between the supporters of the Zajedno coalition and Milošević's supporters. These ended with death of one and heavy injuring of other supporter of the Zajedno coalition and dozens of hurt on both sides. On that day, Serbia was on the edge of a civil war.
(The RTS reported the number of 500,000, while the independent media said there were only 40,000 people)

February 2 and 3, Brankov most (Branko's Bridge) - Beating up of citizens
Because of the prohibition of walks, the Zajedno coalition invited its supporters to come to Trg Republike from various directions. The walk from New Belgrade was led by Vuk Drašković. This column was blocked at the New-Belgrade end of the bridge, at 8:00 PM, approximately. Other demonstrators which came unhampered to Trg Republike from other parts of the city, started to walk through Brankova Street to meet the ones from New Belgrade. This column, led by Zoran Đinđić and Vesna Pešić, was stopped by a cordon in front of the Branko's Bridge. After three hours of blockade, the police simultaneously attacked the two groups of demonstrators. The attack began with use of water-cannons coming from Pop Lukina Street. They poured water on many citizens, although the outer temperature was ten degrees below zero. In total panic, a number of citizens were hurt, while Vesna Pešić was hit several times with truncheon. The police, pursuing demonstrators, went among the streets of Dorćol, and according to witnesses in Francuska Street, beat up a number of citizens. The total number after the intervention was tens of hurt, including several policemen, and several arrested.

March 24 - June 1999, the NATO bombing
The regime of Slobodan Milošević used even the most tragic moments in the recent history of the Serbian nation for the merciless party propaganda and fight against opponents. The anti-war concert gatherings of a large number of citizens at Trg Republike was in a short time turned into a cheap political trick for the cameras of the Radio-Television of Serbia, because the number of the citizens was abruptly minimized. On Easter Day, in front of his apartment, the journalist Slavko Ćuruvija was killed, as a result of an unprecedented media and police persecution which the regime led against all its political opponents. Although all of the media buildings were evacuated, the third shift of the workers of the Radio-Television of Serbia, was obviously purposely left in the building in Aberdareva Street, so that their tragedy could be used for political purposes.

August 19, 1999, in front of the building of the Federal Assembly - The Opposition rally on the Transfiguration Day
At the first great gathering of the Opposition in Belgrade after the war, the clear differences were shown between the leaders of two blocks - Vuk Drašković and Zoran Đinđić, which was manifested even in the fight of their bodyguards on the very stage.

September 1999 - The protests of the Alliance for Changes
After 50 rallies throughout Serbia, on September 21 the Alliance for Changes and the Alliance of Democratic Parties started daily protests against the regime of Slobodan Milošević in some fifteen towns of Serbia. As well as during the 1996/1997 protest, the walks were organized again.
On September 29, between 30 and 80 thousand people from Trg Republike started to walk towards Dedinje. At the intersection of Nemanjina and Kneza Miloša streets, they encountered four lines of police cordons, behind which were the water-cannons and armed vehicles. After the talks with the police officials, the leaders of the Alliance for Changes told the citizens to sit down on the street. The police started to beat the demonstrators and pursue them down Nemanjina Street. The citizens began to run back towards the London intersection and the railway station. This day's score was some sixty hurt demonstrators and five policemen.

The day after, on September 30, the police attacked peaceful demonstrators once again. On the Branko's Bridge, on New Belgrade side, a cordon stopped more than 40,000 demonstrators walking towards the Federation Palace, and acted brutally before the supporters of the the Alliance for Changes could manage to back off. The leaders of the the Alliance for Changes were beaten too, a camera of the Studio B was broken, and some twenty people were hurt. The police once more beat up the people which lay on the ground, and after the action on the bridge, they went into the cafes and restaurants and beat up their guests.

October 5, 2000 in front of the building of the Federal Assembly
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