Student Protest '96 - '97
January 11th, 1996
As usual the students gathered at the Plato to protest against the electoral fraud on the November 17th elections, still joyful from the last gathering and the moral victory against the police cordon. There were no special guests who spoke to the students but the "Stop Cordon!" project was announced again.
As the students poured into Vasina street, they could already see the police cordon awaiting them one block further. The students patiently formed their cordon in front of the existing one and waited.
During the next two hours the students waited, whistled, and made noise while waiting for the police cordon to move. At 7.30 the students made especially loud noise protesting the RTS News. More than 5,000 students were decided on waiting for the third cordon to fall. It finally happened around 9 o'clock when the cordon disappeared. The students rushed into the Republic Square, but instead of turning right into Kolarceva street they left into Makedonska. They proceeded to the Politika building but were stopped by a cordon of the elite anti-terrorist brigade. The officers were lightly equipped, making them very mobile. They were holding their clubs ready for action. The student security stopped the students before they got too near to the cordon. After realizing the threat the students decided to return to Kolarceva street where they were expected...
The atmosphere in Kolarceva was as usual. Music was played, people circulated and waited, discussed the situation. Even though the temperature was almost freezing, Kolarceva was warm due to the many people, but also the warm thoughts and of course coffee and tea brought by the citizens.
As one o'clock came the students expected the cordon to move as it did two nights earlier, but the cordon didn't move. Luckily the officers didn't last much longer and around two o'clock the students were free once again to walk through the dark streets of Belgrade. There was about 3,000 students in Kolarceva when the cordon broke.
The students walked in the usual direction: down Srpskih Vladara to Slavija, up Beogradska to Bulevar Revolucije and then right towards the Engineering Schools. After that the procession turned past the Kalenic Market, and into Maksima Gorkog street. The number of students constantly grew as new people joined. Even though it was three in the morning, people from the surrounding buildings greeted the passing students by banging pots and pans and switching their lights on and off. From there the students walked down Marsla Tobuhina to Slavija and back up Srpskih Vladara to the Republic Square and the Plato. The walk finished with 15,000 students in the procession.
It was announced that there would be no student gatherings until Serbian New Year (January 13), when the students will organize a great celebration at the Republic Square.