Studio B has been fined twice for reporting on a fight that broke out in Požarevac two weeks ago between activists from the student organisation Otpor (Resistance) and alleged associates of President Slobodan Milošević's son, Marko. Požarevac police arrested three Otpor members for the attempted murder of two of Marko's associates, one a member of Milošević's wife Mira Marković's party, the Yugoslav Left (JUL), and the other a member of Serbia's ruling coalition. Otpor said its supporters sustained injuries, and that one lost an eye. This has been denied by Belgrade's state hospital. The local JUL branch accused Studio B of airing "completely false information." The opposition-run Studio B television station said on Friday it would not pay fines imposed on it for reporting the story. "We will not pay, they will have to block our accounts," Dragan Kojadinović, the director of Studio B, told Reuters. "We will no longer appear at these trials. We don't want to waste our strength and our energy." he said.
On Monday 8 May, Serbian state security officers detained Miroslav Filipović, a journalist who works for an independent Belgrade daily and a foreign news agency. Filipović, who is from the central Serbian town of Kraljevo, was arrested late on Monday, and his texts, a computer hard drive, a passport and his personal address book were confiscated, the independent Beta news agency reported. Filipović, who is a local part-time correspondent for Belgrade independent daily Danas and Agence France Presse, is also an activist for the Helsinki Human Rights Committee and works for the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting. Filipović's wife, Slavica, said plain clothes officers had apprehended her husband and produced a warrant to search the house. Slavica said she was given a document saying her husband was detained in order to prevent the destruction or hiding of "objects which have to be confiscated as evidence in judicial proceedings."
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević, marking World War II Victory Day, said on Tuesday 9 May that fascism was reappearing and was again trying to conquer the world. "Not even 50 years have passed, and the evil monster is again giving signs of life and is getting as hungry as before," Milošević told war veterans during a ceremony broadcast by state television. The Serbian strongman accused the Serb opposition of being "little servants and bloody allies of the occupier, who explain their treason as patriotic concern and as patriotic moves." Serbia's ruling parties accused opposition parties of being traitors and NATO gophers. "Again, the occupiers' biggest assets are his little servants in the country they have occupied, his bloody ally among the people that he wants to wipe off the face of the earth or, at the very least, to subjugate," Milošević said.
On Tuesday 9 May, Serbia's opposition reluctantly called off a protest rally in the home town of Slobodan Milošević, accusing authorities of doing everything possible to stop the event. Opposition parties and independent media said police had blocked roads leading into Požarevac, detained several anti-government activists and journalists and prevented demonstrators from going to the eastern town. "They have prevented all our activists from entering Požarevac," said opposition leader Zoran Đinđić. "Požarevac is a forbidden city today. It is closed," he continued. Požarevac authorities organised a rival event to mark Victory Day, and opposition officials said this could have led to clashes between government supporters and foes.
A Serb opposition leader said on Wednesday 10 May that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević lacked support even in his own home town. "Everyone saw Milošević fired from an empty rifle yesterday, when he couldn't gather a decent number of people for a rally in his home town," Democratic Party leader Zoran Đjinđić told the daily Blic. He spoke after the opposition called off a rally in Požarevac on Tuesday, accusing authorities of preventing it by detaining activists and blocking access roads into the eastern town. On Wednesday, in the two central Serbian opposition-run cities of Čačak and Kragujevac, anti-government supporters staged rallies. In Kragujevac, some 10,000 people protested in the centre and then marched through the city with many more joining along the way. In Čačak, police banned the gathering organised by the Otpor movement, so it was moved to the Cultural Hall, which was packed with over 1000 people, while hundreds more remained outside due to lack of space.
Dobrica Ćosić, former Yugoslav President and friend-turned-foe of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević, has joined Otpor, an Otpor member said on Wednesday. "Mr Ćosić came in on Tuesday morning, said we were young people who think differently and asked for an application form to join us," Peđja Lečić of Otpor told Blic. Ćosić, a respected writer, is seen as the spiritual leader of Serbian nationalism. He is one of the authors of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences's memorandum, which is blamed for the upsurge in Serbian nationalism that led to the subsequent violent breakup of the former Yugoslavia in 1991. Ćosić was brought in as federal president in 1992 by Milošević, who was then the Serbian President, but he was ousted in 1993. Otpor, founded two years ago as an opposition student movement in Serbia, has grown to around 50,000 members and has become one of the loudest opponents of Milošević's regime.
Vana Suša, 12 May 2000
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