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Nonviolent revolution in Serbia?

Almost nonviolent - marred only by the deaths of two people - was it, or is it, a revolution? 

The west has hailed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's election of President Kostunica as the triumph of democracy - though whether Kostunica actually received over 50% of the votes will probably never be known. Nevertheless, the West is falling over itself to invite the new FRY into their gang: OSCE, UN - they'll bejoining NATO next!

For those within Serbia who spent the past decade opposing Milosevic, his wars and his policies it is a time for celebration, but also a time for caution. Otpor (resistance), the student-based movement whose creative actions and public support generated much of the massive support for Kostunica's DOS party, have given him 100 days to show his willingness to remove the old power base and establish democratic society.

Making the links, as they have consistently over the years, Women in Black have placed women's political rights and participation on Kostunica's agenda - and as always for the elimination of militarism, nationalism and male violence against women. Their call for the release of journalist Miroslav Filipovic and for the release of Kosova Albanian human rights activist, Flora Brovina has been realised

There is also the promise of an amnesty - currently being drafted at Kostunica's request - thought to apply to the many conscientious objectors and deserters who went into hiding or fled during Milosevic's wars. It may also apply to those convicted of “spreading false information” - like the journalist Lukovic, already pardoned - or for offences against the constitutional order and security of FRY, or against the Yugoslav Army.

This could include the Kosovar Albanians held in Serbian prisons, the majority of whom have been sentenced or are still awaiting trial for “terrorism” and similar charges. But for some there will be little change: according to UNHCR, the refugees and internally displaced people in Serbia face their worst winter yet.

Topics: People Power | Balkans