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Protests in Serbia Archive
Report on students protests

From: War Resisters International <warresisters@gn.apc.org>
Newsgroups: yugo.antiwar
Subject: Belgrade: BPT report on students
Date: Thu, 05 Dec 1996 11:18:06 +0000

A Special Report from the Balkan Peace Team in Belgrade
Please pass this on, especially, to students groups.


The large protest demonstrations in Belgrade are receiving international media coverage. The university student strike and protest marches which are a part of these protests merit special attention. The student strike and daily student protest marches are organized independently of all political parties.

The students have 3 specific short-term demands:

However, the student organizers sense that this democratic student movement is creating an atmosphere for much bigger social changes in the years ahead. They also feel that the strike and protest puts them at risk with regard to their careers and their lives.

The Balkan Peace Team in Belgrade met with students at Student Protest 1996 recently and found the organizers very well prepared. There are marches and demonstrations taking place every day at noon; every night, students occupy university buildings sending out electronic mail messages and reports to the rest of the world. They have a well-thought-out nonviolent strategy, with designated monitors lining the march route, and prepared to act as a buffer to the police. In case of police violence, demonstrators have been prepared to sit down en masse in the street.

The demonstrations are extremely creative: for example, on 5 December, students will build a brick wall in front of the Parliament to show that they are about building their society, not destroying it.

The students told us that they are in great need of outside support. They do not need nonviolence trainings, as some international NGOs have offered. Rather, they reported that they need practical help, both from NGOs in Belgrade and around the world.

They suggested that if organizations would like to help in some way, they should contact the student organizers directly to make arrangements. The telephone number for Student Protest 1996 is +381 11 438 653.
The email address is protest@galeb.etf.bg.ac.yu
They maintain a special office for handling contributions which is open daily.

Balkan Peace Team is a non-partisan international voluntary organisation which supports the building of civil society.

Leaflet from Belgrade students to their fellow-citizens

Dear Fellow Citizens,

You are not supposed to steal, but they do steal. Your trust. Your votes. Your will. We are seeking for the truth. That is what we are protesting against. We are not able to turn our eyes the other way. Can you? Dare you? Can a state that we have no trust in have a future? You are not supposed to steal.

Every kind of help is welcome. We really need printing, paper, food, drink, just about everything. Give us a call, come bring stuff, or suggestions.

Students' Protest '96

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