END OF PROTESTS

MAY 24 2009 17:28h

Faculty Bloc Lifted 34 Days Later

Faculty of Philosophy tudents protest for free education

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Precisely at midnight, 34 days after the protest began, 500 students decided to lift the faculty bloc.

ZAGREB, CROATIA - Only a few days after dean of the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb Miljenko Jurkovic announced sanctions if they continued with blocking the faculty, the students` plenum decided to end the bloc.

Precisely at midnight, 34 days after the protest began, 500 students decided to lift the faculty bloc, despite the fact that their goal has not been realised.

Student protests became diluted some ten days ago when Split and Rijeka universities lifted the bloc of lectured. They were followed by Zadar, while Zagreb students announced they would continue with the bloc until they realised their goal. However, they solidarised with their colleagues and ended the bloc for the time being.

The reason of lifting the bloc, the students claim, was the fact that other students were threatened, which is why they have been discussing lifting the bloc for some time.

However, they will not give up on their goal, which is free education, and holding plenum sittings. The students will still hold plenums once a week, they will fight for free education and if it is necessary, they told the media, they will continue with the bloc in autumn, i.e. at the start of the new academic year.

How it all began

Precisely 34 days ago, at noon, students of the Zagreb Faculty of Philosophy decided to speak up and for equal rights to education. “Free education, free education!”, they shouted, touring the faculty. They decided to bloc lectures from taking place and prepared for further steps.

Apart from their vocal chords, the students used banners, holding them up high in the air, which read “Minister, don`t throw us crumbs, we are hungry for knowledge”. Soon, Zagreb students were joined by their colleagues from Zadar, Split, Rijeka, and then everyone started backing down.

Croatian Studies were the first to display signs of backing down, where students refused to take apart in the protest due to threats from the dean`s office. The media compared this protest to the one from 1971 and frequently, it was debated whether today`s youth had the courage that the 1971 students had.

Oppositional parties also supported the students, along with celebrities, while David Icke and philosopher Slavoj Zizek personally arrived at the Faculty of Philosophy, providing their support, Noam Chomsky also sent a congratulatory note to the students. Despite all of this, the sutdents` plenum of the Faculty of Philosophy decided that the bloc must end, 34 after it commenced.