Student Protest '96 - '97

March 6th, 1997

14:00 CET
(13:00 GMT)

The Plato

The day after the night after the day of the taking of the Chancellorship and the day after the night that the decision that the students would return to class for one day in order to give the Chancellor the chance to reign as he promised. "Treason" was the word of the day. That is what many students felt happened the previous night at the meeting of the Main Board with the Deans of the Belgrade University. The Deans had promised at one point that the students would decide when their demands had been met and when it was time for them to return to class, but now they were the ones pressuring the students to return and as such end the protest. After their meeting with the Minister of Education the Deans met with the Main Board and suddenly the student representatives gave into the demands of the Deans. The angry students in protest expressed their feelings today again at the Plato. There were many guests at the Plato today and proportionally many students. The 30,000 students were addressed first by members of the Initiative and Main Board of the Student Protest who explained the situation and their motivation for adopting the decision last night. Rambo Amadeus, a well-known rock-rap star, said the students should take no sh--, that referendums and democratic elections were the way to go and that there was no other way to decide the future of the Student Protest. He was followed by Sergej Trifunovic and Anita Mancic, both actors. Ivan Marovic, a student of the School of Mechanical Engineering asked "did we not say we would last one day longer?". The following were prof. Dr Stanislav Mihic, prof. Dr Nenad Kostic (professor from the USA), prof. Dr Slobodan Petkovic (member of the Initiative Board for the Defence of Democracy), Milena Markovic (student at the School of Languages), Goran Milicevic (member of the Initiative Board for the Defence of Democracy) and Stanimir Miljkovic (member of the Main Board of the Student Protest).

15:30 CET
(14:30 GMT)

The "Walk"

The walk was one of little noise and much discussion. Many student felt betrayed by the decision last night which was contrary to the belief that the students would not accept any compromises and endure until the end. The situation pressured the Main Board to make a decision which could have been made weeks ago under the student's conditions and we would have been much more pleased with that kind of ending to the street protest. This way neither side is pleased, and the situation is of high tension. The minister of education forced the Deans into a compromise, and they then transferred the pressure onto the students. People are not sure of their thoughts and cannot make up their minds. This is something which the people of Serbia (meaning the people responsible for the upbringing of our generation) never had the opportunity to do - think for themselves. One of the legacies of the communist era. It is not clear to everybody that their voice is as loud as the next and that they have the right for that voice to be heard. Anyway... (Excuse me. I got carried away just as most students during the walk).

The walk took us to Slavija via the shortest route: Kolarceva, Srpskih Vladara, Slavija. There we blocked traffic for about 45 minutes and then returned to the Plato. While passing by the National Museum an unusual amount of commotion was notice. There was a reception hosted by the Prime Minister of Serbia Mirko Marjanovic for different foreign diplomats. (Un)luckily, the police were there in order to prevent the students from crashing the party. And so the day ended for the protest, and the students will gather at their home schools tomorrow morning, and then join together at the Plato at the usual time.


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