Student Protest '96 - '97

March 1st, 1997

00:00 CET
(-01:00 GMT)

The Plato

The Student Protest has been marked by the protest walks as the prime utility used by the students to promote their cause. So the 100th day of protest had to be celebrated with a special walk, a midnight-to-midnight walk. The Delta Security Force, one of the four groups of the security organized a walk which was supposed to last 24 hours. An endurance test for the strongest protesters. They started from the Plato (of course) at the stroke of midnight, and first walked the standard "media walk" through the center of the city. The 50 gathered students expressed their protest in front of the buildings of the RTS, Politika company and Radio Beograd, all of which are government controlled media. After that the group started towards the outskirts of the city in order to pass through the furthest of the suburbs, which the student procession never reached because of the distance from the Plato. They walked through Banovo Brdo, Labudovo Brdo and Lekino Brdo, but their numbers kept decreasing because of the physical fitness of the students. By the time they reached Banjica there were only about ten students left. The police had been following them almost from the beginning and at that time they forced the students on to the sidewalk. Thus the protest walk was finished. The group had walked 30 kilometers in 6 hours and covered almost half the city. There was a number of incidents, because drivers were not expecting to see students in the road, an sometimes had trouble stopping before them, but everybody was well.

14:00 CET
(13:00 GMT)

The Plato

It has been 100 days since the students first gathered at the Plato in front of the School of Philosophy to protest against the electoral manipulations. That was on November 22. of last year. At that time about 1,000 students walked through the city inviting their colleagues to leave their classrooms and take to the streets. Today, 100 days later, the protest is still going on. The situation has changed since much has happened over the weeks and months. The protest reached its peak during the seven day stand in Kolarceva, but is now going through difficult times. We have stood in the sun, the rain and the snow. The marches have taken us through all parts of the city, past many homes and under the windows of even more delighted citizens. So many things have happened and so much time has passed that the protest has become a part of us, a very dangerous and seducing one. From time to time there were problems regarding the organization of the protest, and there were times when there were not many people in the street, but in general the strength of the protest has been great, and the length has been unbelievably long. In the beginning no one could even dream that the protest would last a week not to mention a month. The students celebrated a number of holidays in the street including: November 29th (Republic Day of the Former Yugoslavia, a number of family feasts, Christmas, two New Years (International and Serbian Orthodox), St. Sava Day (protector of education), and others. Today is the 100th day and the students are still in the street, and their simple demands which have been supported by their professors, still haven't been met. And so the protest continues.

15:30 CET
(14:30 GMT)

The "Walk"

To mark the 100th day of the protest the student walk commemorated the important events on the streets during the protest. During the day a student delegation visited the grave of Predrag Starcevic, the man killed under suspicious circumstances during the counter-rally of the Socialist Party of Serbia on December 24, 1997. As the noise-mobile started from the Plato it was announced that Rastko Kostic, the member of the Main Board of the Student Protest and journalist for one of the student papers who was severely beaten by the police in the night of February 2nd, would address the students for the first time since his beating. The jeep carrying the loudspeaker stopped at the point where the police cordon had stood for January 19 to January 27, and a familiar silhouette climbed on to the roof. Rastko spoke of the night when he was beaten only a few meters from that spot. He spoke of what happened then and what is happening now with the protest. He had partially recuperated from the injuries he received then. He wore a hat to cover the scars and the shaven parts of his head, his nose has healed, he had false teeth and his hand was out of the cast (even though he still can't use his fingers). The procession then continued to Terazije, where the notorious counter-rally, which was organized by the Socialist Party of Serbia, was held. The next stop was Kneza Milosa street, the place where the police formed their cordon every time the students tried to visit Dedinje, the part of Belgrade where Slobodan Milosevic lives. We then turned in down to Slobodana Penezica and passed by the First Municial Court, where the electoral results were annulled and confirmed... Then past down Karadjordjeva and up Pariska street, into Uzun Mirkova and back to the Plato.


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