Student Protest '96
December 12th, 1996
|To prove that the rallies are democratic, a representative of the Independent
Student Alliance (a pro-regime "student" organization) was allowed
to speak at the Plato. He was booed at as he read the demands of the ISA
for the students to return to the University in order not to miss any more
classes. He invited the Initiative Committee to negotiations at their offices,
but the invitation was refused again.
Among the others who talked to the students today were Zaga Golubovic, professor at the School of Philosophy, Branislav Atanackovic, professor at the School of Geography, and Predrag Ejdus, actor. Ejdus called us protagonists of the grand finale of the agony we were pushed into by the regime, and said that we are admired by all democratic people o the world and that our parents, teachers, and citizens of all Serbia should be proud of us.
The letters of support from the association of the movie artist, Dom Omladine (youth club), and the Academy of Arts were read, but also the sad information that Gojko Baletic, actor, was beaten up by four policemen at the rear of the students procession, handcuffed and forced into a police vehicle and taken in an unknown direction.
"Index's Radio Theater", a famous group of comedians performed a sketch in order to liven our spirits, which was followed by the announcement that today's route would take us to Dedinje, an elite part of Belgrade where most regime politicians live. Our demands were to be read there.
The walk started as planned, down Vasina to Terazije Square, Srpskih Vladara and Kneza Milosa streets.
The procession was stopped by the Student Security guards just past the American Embassy, the reason: a cordon of police officers two streets further. The members of the Main Committee of the Student Protest '96 asked to talk to the commander, who didn't reveal his identity but replied negatively to their demand to be granted passage. When the Main Committee asked for the name of the person who gave the order they were told to contact the Ministry of Internal Affairs in a couple of days for that information.
The procession turned right, the Milosa Pocerca street, and again right to Sarajevska street (which was also blocked by police in the direction of Dedinje). The disappointed students were very angry and shouted "Red bandits" and "traitors" at the police. Most of us have never seen this many police officers.The procession then returned to the Plato via Balkanska street and Zeleni Venac.
Protests have been scheduled for tomorrow.