To Mister Chancellor of the University
We ask of Mister Chancellor to allow us to organize an assembly on Thursday, 4th of this month, at 10 am, for the purpose of expressing our affection towards our colleagues, the students of the Zagreb University, with the following agenda:
The Active Board:
Dobrivoje J. Trifunovic
You must be thinking that this letter is yet another mischief of the SP, though you were probably fooled the introduction (until the word "Zagreb" occured), maybe even considering coming to the Plato on Thursday at ten o'clock (by the way, Thursday is on the 27th!), but you are mistaken; there was a protest, but on December 4th, 1924!
The "affection" expressed was regarding the intrusion of the armed police forces on the building of the ZU. By the way, the Chancellor Pavle Popovic approved of the assembly. It didn't begin until 10:30 (a practice that has remained in our genes to this very day), in the courtyard of "The old University building" (which corresponds to the Plato). A fewspeeches were delivered (Ceda, Ceda!), a student representative from Zagreb (why is it that we can't have one?) said whatever he had to say, and then a "resolution" was passed, addressed to the Minister of Education, protesting the dismissal of some university professors and the violation of the ZU autonomy. A four day boycott of all the classes at the BU was also proclaimed? Perhaps everything would have ended nicely had it not been for the "resolution", amd had it been for the Chancellor, because the student representatives attempted to hand the resolution to the Chancellor, who (now, imagine that) wasn't in his office. The pursuit of Mr. Popovic started in Vuka Karadzica street, towards the Academy of Science (should we even mention that all the students participated), when, there...
At the corner of the Knez Mihajlova street, a real, as real as can be police cordon greeted them! The "stinging" with bayonets occured (an accessory that the today's gendarmerie cannot pride of having as an armament, to their great disappointment) as well as the act of "persuading" with the riffle butts (the clubs were introduced as a handy replacement). The students, what else could they do, started running to the University building, exclaiming: "Down with the brutes, down with the bloody police!" The police broke into the hall of the University (sounds familiar, doesn't it?) where it even came to some beating. The victims were students, one "accidental passer-by" (a resigning teacher from Kraljevo Selo), a female student Kostic beaten with a saber (she was asking for it!) and even a gendarm. As the Student University Medical Center was absent, the "Geographic room" served the purpose. Twenty students were arrested. At approximately 1 pm, the situation calmed and everybody went home, except for "the leaders of the manifestation who were not at all willing to be taken off" (this applied to the top floor of the building, not the clothes - author's note) "fearing that they would be arrested by the police agents the moment they stepped on the street". Does anybody suffer of a similar agoraphobia? Whatever happened to the representative of the Zagreb University, noone can tell. The gendarms kept their eyes wide open until nightfall, so that nobody but them could violate the autonomy of the University, not even the professors nor the Academic Singing Society Obilic, which was determined to hold its scheduled rehersal precisely at that time, and enter the building even at the cost of getting beaten up.
And whatever became of the Chancellor?
Nothing of any significance, except for his politically indefinite statement for the press, in which he confirmed that he did allow the assembly to be held, slightly protested the police break in to the University building, and claimed that he was completely uninformed of the "resolution" and the idea about the interruption of the lectures. His disappearance after 11 o'clock remained a mistery.
What else can one say, when, unfortunately, all this is so near to us? The chancellors will remain chancellors and the police will always be police...We, however, differ from our colleagues from 1924. We managed to persist for more than four days.
PS. Another detail for "The twilight zone"; an article about this event was published on February 1st, 1997, just a day before the similar "adventure" at the School of Philosophy.