Student Protest '96 - '97
February 11th, 1997
The gathering of the students started today at the usual time, at the usual place and in the usual manner. One mobile loud speaker (mounted on a Land Rover), "one handful" (20,000) of students, one protest and one cause all in one place, the Plato. The day that the "lex specialis" is supposed to be adopted in some form in the Serbian Parliament... And guests of course.
Today we were addressed by Stanislav Mihic, neuro-psychologist and veteran of the '91 demonstrations, during which he was in a hunger strike. The following speaker was Sonja Vukicevic, ballerina who said that it was ridiculous that a ballerina should give a speech, but still stated her opinion. Letters of support from the independent union of the Grmec Corporation, and the pensioners of Smederevo were read. Tocak, the famous guitarist from the Smak rock band, said that the Smak group supports the student protest and that there will be a free concert for the students in the future. A guest student from France presented the message of the students of Paris and Aix-en-Provence who are keeping a close eye on the events in Belgrade and the activities of their colleagues. The service messages were read, and there many school student assemblies announced for tomorrow. Different discussions were announced to take place at different schools.
At the end of the protest program, the procession of the Belgrade lawyers passed through the crowd, and continued their protest walk towards Kalemegdan.
Since the Serbian Parliament was in session in order to adopt the proposed "lex specialis" which is supposed to acknowledge part of the results of the November 17 elections, the students created a cordon which lead from the Plato to the Parliament building. The street was bordered by two columns of students, each side being 5 persons wide. Through the passage two members of the student security carried two life-savers made out of ice, and a car carrying a large plastic brain. The life-savers, which were delivered to the Parliament building, were the student's help for the drowning authorities.
After the Parliament, which is situated in the Srpskih Vladara street, the students proceeded to Slavija, up Beogradska and counter-right into the Bulevar. From there the procession went down Takovska and into Ivo Lola Ribar, where they were greeted by Grandma Olga. After paying their respects to the most famous grandma in Belgrade, the students returned to the Plato where the protest gathering ended. Of course there were no incidents, during the walk, which has become the expected for the protest.