- Title: VARIOUS: NATO-LED PEACEKEEPING TROOPS SEIZE TELEVISION TRANSMITTERS
- Date: 1st October 1997
- Summary: PRISTINA, KOSOVO, YUGOSLAVIA (OCTOBER 1, 1997) (RTV (A)) HAS THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS AND DEMONSTRATORS GATHERED FOR MARCH 1.23 SLV PLACARDS IN CROWD, ELDERLY DEMONSTRATORS, MORE PLACARDS (3 SHOTS) 1.34 HAS MARCH GETS UNDER WAY (2 SHOTS) 1.44 SLV RIOT POLICE CONFRONTING DEMONSTRATORS, POLICE LINES, TWO SIDES IN STAND-OFF (3 SHOTS) 1.54 LAS HELICOPTER OVERHEAD 1.58 SLV DEMONSTRATORS RUNNING FROM ADVANCING POLICE USING BATONS / POLICE BEATING AND KICKING DETAINEES (2 SHOTS) 2.11 SLV POLICE AND DEMONSTRATORS RUNNING, TEAR GAS ROUND FIRED, CLOUDS OF TEAR GAS, DEMONSTRATORS RETREATING UP HILL, POLICE WEARING GAS MASKS LOOKING ON (5 SHOTS) 2.33 GV/LV/GV DEMONSTRATORS RETREATING UP HILL (3 SHOTS) 2.44 Initials S3 P2/3 Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
- Embargoed: 16th October 1997 13:00
- Location: PALE, SARAJEVO AND MOUNT TREBEVIC, NEAR SARAJEVO, BOSNIA / PRISTINA, KOSOVO, YUGOSLAVIA
- Country: Kosovo Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Topics: Conflict,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAC7MCECLGWONVCXGJ3IVVT58L4
- Story Text: NATO-led peacekeeping troops have seized four television transmitters in Bosnia's Serb Republic to halt a propaganda offensive against NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) and the Dayton peace accords by nationalist hardliners. And riot police firing teargas have baton-charged a peaceful protest by ethnic Albanian students in the capital of Serbia's troubled southern province of Kosovo.
The NATO-led S-For (Stabilisation Force) raid on Bosnian Serb television transmitters went ahead on Wednesday (October 1) after the international community's high representative to Bosnia, Carlos Westendorp, requested action against Bosnian Serb Television (SRT) for "persistent and blatant contravention" of the spirit and letter of the Dayton accords.
The SRT transmitters have been used by hardliners loyal to indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic to make broadcasts against NATO and the Bosnian peace agreement.
Officials said the transmitters would be handed over to Western-backed Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic, though this would have to be handled carefully. "We don't want to replace the monopoly of one individual with the monopoly of another. That's not media liberalisation," one official said.
On Sunday SRT broadcast a doctored tape of a news conference given by U.N. war crimes prosecutor Louise Arbour which misrepresented the tribunal. NATO officials in Maastricht said the tampered tape was "highly provocative".
The studio then transmitted the original on Tuesday at the mediators' insistence but Duncan Bullivant, spokesman for the office of the high representative, said the re-broadcast was not sufficient.
The four transmitters held on Wednesday were at Udrigovo in northeast Bosnia, Leotar in the southern tip of the Bosnian Serb Republic, Duge Njive in the north near Doboj and Trebevic.
In Kosovo, eyewitnesses said at least 300 riot police supported by armoured vehicles and water cannon dispersed some 3,000 students trying to march through Pristina on Wednesday.
The demonstration was attacked despite a promise by the authorities to United States and West European diplomats based in Belgrade that no force would be used.
Student leaders were demanding access to Pristina university and for classes to be taught in Albanian instead of Serbian in Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs by nine to one.
Bystanders saw the police, who included armed units from other areas of Serbia, block the students' route for most of the morning and launch their assault just before noon.
Students and spectators fled under a hail of blows from police batons.
Eyewitnesses saw at least 10 people injured in police beatings and the rector of the underground Albanian university in Kosovo, his deputy and three student leaders were briefly detained.
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