Student Protest '96 - '97

January 17-18th, 1997

12:00 CET
(11:00 GMT)

In front of the School of Veterinary

A group of 800 students of veterinary gathered with their pets in front of the school of veterinary, in the project "Take Your Pet Out for a Walk". The students were only representing the support of their pets. Animals ranging from the common dogs and cats to goldfish and a horse were in the procession. They walked to Slavija [15 minutes away], but on the way back a cordon prevented them from walking down the street. The peaceful pets (and their student-owners) continued on the sidewalk.

18:00 CET
(17:00 GMT)

Plato & the "Walk"

The students gathered for yet another protest walk down the streets of Belgrade, but counted on being stopped by the police. After the gathering they walked down Vasina, but were stopped a block further. They waited there for two hours, until the cordon retreated. At about 9 pm they then proceeded across the Republic Square and into Kolarceva street, where another cordon awaited. A yellow cab with a loud speaker attached to its roof arrived to play music and inform the students of what was going on. Meanwhile the police cordon was changed every hour. At midnight the students celebrated the start of the 58th day of protest with loud noises of every kind: cries, whistles, horns, drums, etc. The citizens brought food and warm drinks to the students in the street, there were guests, public figures who came to show their support and a group of 30 Belgrade municipal judges came organized in order to show the legitimacy of this act. One of them had a dispute with the officer in charge. "Do you know who I am, and that what you are doing is illegal?", said the judge. The officer answered: "I am not interested in the law."

Around 4 am archbishop Amfilohije Radovic joined the students and other people in the street, blessed the students and performed the morning service. The representative of the Theological School in Belgrade held the fresco of the "Three-handed Virgin", one of the most important frescoes in the Serbian history. At about 5 am the police received the order to clear the street in order to allow traffic to pass, but the students sat on the ground and so prevented the police in following their orders. This lasted for about an hour, and even the metropolitan joined. Actors Bane Bumbar, Neda Arneric, Ljuba Tadic and others were at the head of the procession.

At 6:30am, after 12 hours of street shifts, the police retreated and the 1,500 remanining students were ready as ever for their walk. They walked down Srpskih Vladara, up Marsala Tolbuhina, down the Bulevar Revolucije and Takovska, Ivo Lola Ribar, Makedonska across the Republic Square and back to the Plato. It was 7.30am by this time.

There was another traffic incident, this time in front of the Metropol Hotel where a driver hit two members of the student security, luckily they were only slightly injured.

Wolfe & Teanosugar

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