Student Protest '96

November 29th, 1996

12:00 CET
(11:00 GMT)
In spite of certain fears that a considerable number of our colleagues from different parts of Serbia would go home during the holidays, many more students gathered at Plato today than during the previous days. According to some estimations, about 30,000 students were at the gathering.

Before the beginning of the program, an unwanted event took place; it was provoked by a skin-headed group of youths who came out of a van and beat someone. Students thought that the beaten man was a student himself but owing to the presence of mind of the police officers, the lynching of these bullies was prevented.

The students payed their respect to the deceased academician Dragoslav Srejovic, who had, from his death-bed, sent his last message to the students, inviting them to persist in their requests. After that, a shameful statement of Dragutin Velickovic, the Rector of Belgrade University, was read. He had stated for the 7:30 PM news-program at RTS (Serbian Radio-Television Station) that the news concerning the gatherings of students are mere misinformation and that "these gatherings consist of high school students and other young people, with very few students among them." The students reacted to this statement with boos which lasted five minutes and with chanting: "Resignation, resignation."

As it was the case during previous days, numerous guests addressed the gathered students. We would like to mention Matija Beckovic, a writer, and Branislav Lecic, an actor, who were greeted with loud applause and ovations of approval. Branislav Lecic pointed out that the students' protest of 1968 lasted seven days, that of 1992 three weeks, whereas this protest must continue until all the requests have been granted. He added that the jacket he had on was the same one he had worn in 1992 during his famous address to the students. He also advised the students to eat and sleep well, and take vitamin pills so that they might endure in their struggle. Today's slogan: "The Student Protest '96/97" is perhaps the best proof of the students' determination to persist in their demands. Even the suggestion that the New Year's Eve should be spent at Plato could be heard.

13:00 CET
(12:00 GMT)
The walk began a little later today, because of the higher number of guests who wished to address the students and express their support to the Student Protest.

The route was different today from the routes taken during previous days: we started the walk in the direction of Kalemegdan, then turned toward Dorcol, and along the Takovska Street in order to pass by the building of the City Electoral Committee.

The students' procession was greeted warmly by the citizens, who waved their hands from balconies and windows. There were more witty slogans today than previous days. Passing by the building of the City Electoral Committee the procession paused to shower it with eggs and toilet paper. After that, the students returned to Plato.

It was agreed that the Protest should be continued at Plato at the same time tomorrow.

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