Student Protest '96 - '97

February 14th, 1997

12:00 CET
(11:00 GMT)

The Plato

St. Valentine's Day started as a warm, sunny spring day, a day made for walking! The students were of high spirits, anticipating the project for the day, but there was none, at least none announced. At the standard Plato gathering the students were addressed by Filip David, writer and Zoran Cvijanovic, actor. The final spokesman was Cedomir Jovanovic of the Initiative Board of the Student Protest, who told the students that the goal for the day was to protest in front of the School of Veterinary, who's Dean had announced that lectures were to begin on Monday, February 17.

11:00 CET
(10:00 GMT)

The School of Electrical and School of Mechanical Engineering

The student leadership of the School of Electrical Engineering held a student assemblies at eleven o'clock this morning in order to inform the students of this school of the events and intentions of the Student Protest, just as many schools have done in the past two days. The students were informed by their leadership and school administrators of the possibilities for the ending of the present school crises, a unexpected and surprising announcement was given. The intention of today's action was for the students of this school to go to Dedinje and visit the residence of the President of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic. About 200 students started from their school at 12 o'clock walking with the awaiting students of mechanical engineering to Kalenic market and down Maksima Gorkog. From there we entered the small streets of Neimar and the guerilla action of sneaking to Tolstoy street began. We scrambled across the pedestrian bridge over the highway, and made our way to the Red Star stadium. We walked across the Dedinje hill, running across large streets, in order to prevent exposure to "hostile elements". After hours of walking through small neighborhoods, dashing through school yards and kindergarten we arrived within sight of Milosevic's house. The last 200 meters were the most difficult. The police guarded the surrounding streets heavily, and all previous attempts of reaching the gates of the house were stopped long before reaching Dedinje not to mention the neighborhood. The student security rushed us down one side of the small valley and up the other, and we were in Tolstojeva, the only street in Belgrade in which "walking" is prohibited. The street had become the symbol of absolute rule of certain elements in Yugoslavia. As we entered Tolstojeva a police car ran out in front of us blocking our way. Five officers jumped out, and our travel was ended. The officers told us we could go no further, and after hours of silent walking we let our voices run free, our whistles fulfill their essence - to make noise. We let them know that we were there. The officers led us out of the small streets, and as we walked we realized that there was much more police than we had anticipated. There were cars on every corner, and even a bus of special forces officers. We were victorious. We had broken the world record in how close an organized group had come to the home of Slobodan Milosevic. We walked back towards the center, crossing Autokomanda and joined up with our colleagues in front of the School of Veterinary, in order to go for the traditional protest walk.

13:30 CET
(12:30 GMT)

The "Walk"

The students walked down Vasina, Kolarceva and Srpskih Vladara to Slavija. From there the procession turned up the Bulevar JNA where the School of Veterinary is located. In front of the School of Veterinary the students met with the students of the School of Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering who had gone to "visit" President Milosevic. The procession crossed Autokomanda and entered the South Boulevard. We turned into Maksima Gorkog and 14 December and returned to the Plato by Slavija and Srpskih Vladara.


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