Student Protest '96 - '97
January 8th, 1997
Another cloudy day at Plato gathered roughly 5,000 students. After the usual introduction by our speakers the program was continued by speeches of several people supporting the protest. Among them were two distinguished members of our society. The first one, Bogdan Diklic, is an actor. He greeted us "Good evening" and quoted Dusan Kovacevic, our writer, from one of his books saying: "Until some light shines onto this country, it is my opinion that the greetings -Good morning- and -Good day- should be abolished". The second person was Goran Paskaljevic, a film director. He said that he did not come to hold some political speech lacking in taste, but simply to give his support as a citizen of this country. He said that we are to take the credit for a new, positive image our country has in the eyes of people all over the World, basing this statement on his recent stay in Paris during which he shot another film. After saying goodbye he was applauded by our whistles and before descending from the speakers' stand he, too, tuned into the noise with his own whistle.
The program at Plato ended with a briefing on the actions planned for tomorrow.
The protest continued in the usual fashion - a walk through the city streets within the boundaries of the cordons made by special police forces. After the stream of students returned to Knez Mihajlova street, where we departed from, a group of approximately 2000 students continued their march and went on in the direction of the School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. And then, when everybody expected the procession to turn back to its starting point and call it a day, the event of the day happened. Instead of turning back, someone directed us towards a maize of stairways and passages unguarded by the police which lead us outside the circle of cordons. While the people were hurrying towards and through the passages the policemen in a cordon close by observed us curiously, at first, then with panic, after realizing that we were going to outsmart them. Their officer in charge kept shouting orders and called for help into his walkie-talkie, but no one was available. We succeeded in breaking though their trap and for the next 15-30 minutes walked freely down to and along Cara Dusana street, exhilarated by our victory (1:0 as us-as a police officer put it). However, they caught up with us at the corner of Dobracina and formed a new cordon which stopped any further progress. This did not upset us too much. We made our breakthrough and, in a noisy joyful bunch, returned to our starting point with our hands behind our heads (prison style). Many policemen smiled at us as we passed by them and some even congratulated us on outwitting them.
Todays protest walk ended at roughly 15.00 with the return to Plato.
Teanosugar & Wolfe