Student Protest '96

December 2nd, 1996

12:00 CET
(11:00 GMT)
In spite of the snowstorm which started at around 11 AM some 15,000 students gathered at Plato. Many commentaries could be heard among the students about open threats that had been uttered in yesterday's 7:30 PM news-program at RTS (Serbian National Radio-Television Network), when it had been stated that "citizen gatherings not previously scheduled, which disrupt traffic and normal life in Belgrade and make it impossible for the citizens to perform their regular duties" will not be tolerated any longer.

The gathering started by the reading of the students' answer to the statement of Dragan Tomic, in which he said that students were children led astray" and other things.
("Students are no children; they are citizens with full rights in this country, who have risen against the abolishment of their rights. You did not worry about our age when you sent us to Vukovar and other places where the war was on.."). After that, numerous guests addressed the students. Among them, there were Vladeta Jankovic, professor at the Faculty of Philology ("This regime made a biting insult against us - at least, I can say it for myself - by calling us the fascists..") and Dusan Kovacevic, one of our best-known playwrights', who spoke to the students in the ironical manner characteristic of him ("You are the last hope of this country...TV-news say there are ten to fifteen of you but I can see you are more then one hundred in number..") A telegram sent by Nicholas Pasic, grandson of Nikola Pasic, from Canada was read. After that, the students heard the schedule of today's walk and other activities connected with the walk.

13:00 CET
(12:00 GMT)
In spite of the snowstorm and the 00 temperature, the protest walk was not omitted today. The route was as follows: Kalemegdan -> by the French Embassy -> by the Central Bus Terminal and the Central Railway Station -> by the building of Serbian Supreme Court -> the first turning left towards Kneza Milosa St. -> by the building of the Embassy of the USA -> the "usual" route back to Plato.

The motto of today's walk was "Noise is in", so that the procession of students sounded their passing along the streets of Belgrade noisily. Once again, girls carrying flowers went in front the procession, and they were followed by the members of the Student Protest headquarters, with the slogan "Student Protest '96/'97". There were many original slogans and pictures, one of which was a poster of Dejan Savicevic, a famous soccer player, with the following message: "We want Dejo for our Rector".

While passing by the building of Supreme Court, the procession paused for a short while and booed at that institution, but there were no unwelcome incidents. Besides, during today's walk past the building of Embassy of the USA, the building was surrounded by special police forces fully equipped. They even carried the shields. The students booed at the police officers, but the meaning of this masquerade remains unclear since no one can discern who it is that the police protect and from whom.

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