Student Protest '96 - '97
March 7th, 1997
The Schools of the Belgrade University
As planned the students returned to class today. Of course, after 105 days of protesting in the streets we were not ready to return peacefully, but since the promise was made, we obeyed. Only on a small number of schools were classes truly organized. Those who really wanted class were granted their wishes. Most of the teachers spoke to the students about the protest and its future. They explained their point of view and left the students to discuss their plans. Mistakes have been made up to now, but the protest still continues. The students of some schools organized protest walks within the school buildings in order not to brake the promise of returning to school. At about 12 o'clock the rumor spread that the Chancellor Dragutin Velickovic had handed in his resignation as well as the student vice-chancellor Vojin Djurdjevic. The first and absolutely natural reaction of the students was to gather at the Plato and celebrate the act. The situation wasn't clear at the moment and everybody rejoiced. When we had gathered we were informed that the leadership had received the decision and the written resignation but that it wasn't clear what had been achieved. The Chancellor had passed on his duties and authority to one of the vice-chancellor's (not Kuburovic, who the professors had elected ten days ago). The problem was that the decision had to be approved by the University Counsil which is to hold its next session on March 20th, and may or may not accept the resignation. The student demand had again not been entirely fulfilled. In what seemed to be a black-and-white situation, the government created a shade of gray. The decision of the Main Board is to boycott class until the resignation is accepted by the University Counsil, but the final word will be said by the students tomorrow at the student assemblies. As it stands the students will stay in protest until March 20th when the situation may be resolved. The situation was explained to the 30,000 gathered students by members of the Initiative and Main Board of the Student Protest and then the walk was announced. To the president's office in Srpskih Vladara.
"You are next!" was the message of today's walk and the addressed was Slobodan Milosevic. The procession walked down Kolarceva and Srpskih Vladara, and then we surrounded the building. With loud cries we alerted Slobodan Milosevic (if he was in the building). If there was anyone present in the building we guess they would give the message to the President. We then proceeded to Slavija and up Marsala Tolbuhina. We cut across to the Bulevar Revolucije through Ivankoavcka and then returned to the Plato via Mose Pijade and Vasina. The walk ended at about 6.00 but the protest gathering was scheduled for tomorrow at 2 o'clock. A number of student assemblies has been announced to take place before tomorrow's gathering.