URL for his article is http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/zorich/arrsol.htm
Belgrade Demands: 'Arrest Solana!'
By Milosh Zorich (Special to Emperors Clothes)
Belgrade, February 8, 2001
Today thousands demonstrated against the arrival of former NATO leader Javier Solana, sentenced by a Yugoslav court to 20 years in prison for aggression against Yugoslavia and crimes of war.
"The murderer returns to the scene of his crime" would best describe the reactions of todays Belgrade to the arrival of Javier Solana. Currently a high EU official, Solana was the NATO Secretary-General who in 1999 issued the order to bomb Yugoslav towns and cities. The bombing destroyed numerous civilian buildings, hospitals, schools, churches, bridges, infrastructure and a passenger train...
Reporters estimated that last nights protest drew several thousand citizens. They burned an effigy resembling Solana, stoned the US Embassy, laid a wreath on the heavily damaged building of the Yugoslav Armys General Staff and lit thousands of candles to commemorate the victims of NATOs attacks that took place from March to June 1999.
Escorted by police, the demonstrators marched through downtown Belgrade chanting "Solana-Satan!", "Solana murderer of innocents," "Out with the murderer!", "NATO-Nazis!", "Serbia is awake" and "Arrest the criminal."
The rally was joined by a large group of Greeks, who traveled to Belgrade to protest the presence of NATO in the Balkans.
Another rally was scheduled for this morning at 9 a.m., before the Federation Palace in New Belgrade, where the three-member EU delegation including Solana met with President Koshtunitsa and other official representatives. As the demonstrators gathered, the police used force to arrest Sinisha Vuchinich, chairman of the "Nikola Pashich" Radical Party. Several hundred protesters dispersed after 10:30 a.m..
One question the new regime, which describes itself as legalist, cannot answer is how to avoid arresting Solana, given that he was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment by the Belgrade County Court last year. Will their guest walk freely through the city and tour the destroyed monuments? Will he meet with the families of those killed by his "Merciful Angel"? Will he talk with the scientists and physicians who are currently seeking ways to avoid the long-term consequences of depleted uranium poisoning from munitions launched against Serbia?
According to district attorney Andria Milutinovich, who prosecuted NATO leaders at the trial last year, the presiding judge, Justice Verolub Rakitich, has not yet finalized the very complex verdict. It is currently being translated into four foreign languages, and has not yet been served to the police, together with the warrant for Solanas arrest.
Protest rallies drew many citizens who did not belong to any political party, but were united by their condemnation of NATO crimes and belief that Solana was personally responsible for them.
"I lost my husband and my brother. The West is responsible for their deaths. And when I came to Serbia, NATO destroyed my refuge. Solana must be punished," said Maria Potkonyak, a retired Serb who was driven from Croatia during Operation Storm in 1995.
"I lost my job," said Zdravko Yagich, a worker at the bombed-out "Milan Blagoyevich" appliance factory. "NATO took the bread from my family. I think Solana is a common thug."
"NATO did a lot of damage to my country," said Stevan Soch, a civil servant and father of three. "How will the economy recover, how will the lost lives be recovered? How can I feed my family in a devastated country? I would like that murderer Solana to answer these questions for me."
Interestingly enough, even the papers that have supported the changes in Yugoslavia, that were critical of Miloshevich and his government, gave much room to accusations against Solana and disapproved of his visit. The daily "Glas Yavnosti" [Public Voice] for example, in todays edition quoted many citizens who demanded that the current regime should not talk with Solana.
"Solana should be shown what was destroyed, then arrested. Maybe we should organize some sort of Hague-like trial for him, too," said student Milan Lukovich.
"He should be arrested right away, at the airport!" said lab assistant Milena Stevanovich.
Seventeen-year-old high school student Ivan Maksimovich said, "After all hes done to us, I would have him shot in front of the Parliament, but not before everyone had a chance to spit on him."
The talks at Federation Palace were successful, to the mutual pleasure of the EU visitors and the government.
-- Milosh Zorich, February 8, 2001
[translated by N. Malich]
Milosh Zorich is a Yugoslav journalist with many years experience.
1) On the supposed legalism of the new regime see "These Djindjic people are Brownshirts!" , an interview with a Serbian political activist conducted by Jared Israel at www.emperors-clothes.com/interviews/djindjic.htm
1) 'Don't entertain him - arrest him!' Statement by Michel Chossudovsky, Jared Israel and Nico Varkevisser condemning Solana's visit to Belgrade at http://emperors-clothes.com/docs/dem.htm
2) 'The Incorporation of Spain and Javier Solana Into NATO by Javier Bernal at http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/javier/solnato.htm
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