Belgrade's 1968 student unrest spurs nostalgia

Belgrade is marking 40 years since Europe's 1968 student protests, a seemingly happier time long before the wars that ripped Yugoslavia apart, dpa reported.

As Serbia wavers over closer ties with the European Union, 1968 offers a nostalgic feeling that Serbs were then part of a global community, demonstrating for freer societies even though Josip Broz Tito's communist regime didn't shake.

"It was a year when the world dreamed one dream and Belgrade was the world, " Djordje Vukovic, who participated in the Belgrade protests, said at the opening of one of several exhibitions on the student unrest.

After youth protests erupted in Belgrade on the night of July 2, students at Belgrade University went into a seven-day strike. Police beat the students and banned all public gatherings.

Students then gathered at the university's Faculty of Philosophy, held debates and speeches on the social justice, and handed out copies of the banned magazine Student.

"For us it was a rare opportunity to be in a society which is in line with history, to have whatever is happening in the world happen here as well," Dragoljub Micunovic, one of the participants, told Serbia's Tanjug news agency.

To revisit 1968, film projections and forums are planned and the Historical Archive in Belgrade will host an exhibition including leaflets, copies of Student magazine, photographs and other archive materials from the year of upheaval.

Student protests had begun a few years earlier in the mid-1960s in the United States, then spread to Europe in 1967 and 1968, flaring up in places like Germany, Italy, Spain, Mexico and Poland.

Two months before Belgrade, protests erupted in France that led to major unrest and a general strike. In August 1968, a Soviet-led invasion crushed Czechoslovakia's Prague Spring communist reform movement.

While Yugoslavia was outside the Iron Curtain, having broken with the Soviet Union two decades earlier, Tito ran the multiethnic, multi-religious country as a dictator.

"The protests in Belgrade are important because in Serbia's closed society that wanted to present itself as a harmonic one, a group of people wanted two main human rights to be respected - the right of political assembly and the right to free speech," Micunovic said.

Students also protested against economic reforms, which led to high unemployment and forced workers to leave the country and find the work elsewhere.

Tito gradually stopped the protests by giving in to some of the students' demands and saying that "students are right" during a televised speech. But in the following years, he dealt with the leaders of the protests by sacking them from university and Communist party posts.

The protests were supported by prominent public personalities, including film director Dusan Makavejev, stage actor Stevo Zigon, poet Desanka Maksimovic and university professors, whose careers ran into problems because of their links to the protests.

Although participants call it "last kick of the free society" and the "last world explosion of utopia energy," the protests left Serbia and former Yugoslavia without liberal groups and Tito as a lifetime ruler.

Protests also broke out in other capitals of Yugoslav republics - Sarajevo, Zagreb and Ljubljana - but they were smaller and shorter than in Belgrade.

"Those protests will never happen again. We live in a different society. Ideas of freedom and truth are gone and only the violence from 1968 lives on," said Nebojsa Popov, who took part in 1968 and wrote a book on student protests.

"That violence is being legalized since 1968 until this day and we still can't get democratic institutions which will deal with it," he said.

Coca-Cola revenue rises past estimates on easing pandemic curbs
Coca-Cola revenue rises past estimates on easing pandemic curbs
Microsoft to invest $1 bln in Malaysia to set up data centres - Malaysian PM
Microsoft to invest $1 bln in Malaysia to set up data centres - Malaysian PM
Goldman Sachs invests $69 million in Britain's Starling Bank
Goldman Sachs invests $69 million in Britain's Starling Bank
Loading Bars
Interest rate unlikely to decrease in Azerbaijan – Unicapital company
New CEO of Azercell Telecom LLC appointed in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan's Azeronline eyes to expand coverage to remote areas
Azerbaijan discloses volume of exported oil bitumen
Armenia delaying process of restoring communications - Azerbaijani MP
Azerbaijani people won't forget Armenian crimes, but country looking into future - MP
Azerbaijan, Turkic Council reach preliminary agreement on digital co-op (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan Insurers Association talks about current state of COVID-19 products
Housing prices down in secondary market of Azerbaijan’s Baku
Atrocities committed by Armenians have no analogues – journalist (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan’s Bank VTB ends 1Q2021 with net profit
Water and electricity facilities to be put into operation in Iran
Cars re-export sees significant decline in Georgia
Romania has good prospects for reboot of economic co-op with Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan announces 1Q2021 foreign trade turnover figures
Azerbaijani Bank BTB's total liabilities decrease in 1Q2021
Iranian parliament suspends holding plenary session
Azerbaijan shows footage from Ismayilbayli village of Aghdam district (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Visit of Israeli journalists to Azerbaijan’s Aghdam district ends (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan's 1Q2021 petrochemicals production value down
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on April 20
Nobel Oil Services further strengthens its Board of Directors
Lending to industry, manufacturing sector decreases in Azerbaijan
Georgia's car export to Azerbaijan down
Turkmenistan offers business opportunities for Swiss private sector in number of areas
Georgian TBC Bank sees increase in volume of non-performing loans
Shah Deniz to account for major part of 2021 gas output growth in Azerbaijan
Aggregate assets of Azerbaijan's Bank VTB down
Record mortgage taking in Israel in Q1
Israel Hayom newspaper reporter saddened by destroyed mosque in Azerbaijan's Aghdam
Iran's Parliament expects to finalize removal of zeros from national currency
Turkey's furniture, wood exports to Azerbaijan increase
Iran intends to increase exports – Deputy Minister
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to fall
Iran provides permit to private companies to import COVID-19 vaccine
Kazakhstan's Tethys Petroleum completes private placement with Pope Investments II LLC
Кazakh national telecommunications operator opens tender to buy spares
WB offers Kazakhstan to switch sewage treatment system to market financing
SES connectivity solutions provider to develop satellite-enabled services in Kazakhstan
Belarusian Belavia Airlines extends suspension of flights to Turkmenistan
Gold mining enterprise's construction kicks off in Kazakh Zhambyl region
Azerbaijan gives update on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 995 more COVID-19 cases, 1,136 recoveries
Presentation of new equipment in Iran’s electricity sector to be held
‘Lift embargo on vaccine raw material exports’: SII’s Poonawalla requests US President Biden
Indian economy better placed to meet second Covid wave with vaccination drive: CEA
10 Democrats Ask Biden To Back India's Waiver Bid At WTO
‘Utilise entire national capacity for vaccine production’: PM Modi reviews Covid situation
FM: Hopeful of getting rest of vaccine doses from India as scheduled
Iran continues preferential trade talks with five countries
Facebook signs renewable energy deal in India
Iran’s natural gas consumption rises
Fiscal package may be on cards to maintain India's economic recovery amid Covid resurgence
JCPOA negotiations reach progress, Iran's MFA spokesman says
Pakistani FM to visit Iran
Kazakhstan increases some ores output
Iran welcomes dialogue with Saudi Arabia - MFA
Azerbaijani payment system expands fintech services for SME industry
Georgia increases oil import from Azerbaijan
Iran's FM stresses need to finalize preferential tariff agreement with Indonesia
Austria will only use Sputnik V vaccine after EMA approval
Iran's renewable power plants ready to attract foreign investments
Kazakhstan's trade turnover with Uzbekistan surges
Volume of trade turnover in Turkmenistan’s private sector increased
Georgia decreases gas import from Azerbaijan
Foreign trade turnover between Georgia and Azerbaijan declines
Russia detects 192 cases of UK coronavirus strain, 21 cases of South African strain
Azerbaijan discloses fixed capital receipts from foreign investments
Coca-Cola revenue rises past estimates on easing pandemic curbs
Kazakhstan boosts revenues from air cargo transportation
Azerbaijan's State Customs Committee eyes to use eTIR procedure on all transport routes
TRACECA Permanent Representative talks cargo traffic growth on Azerbaijani section
Azerbaijan sees decrease in unemployment
Sunflower imports down in Georgia
Azerbaijan reveals data on cargo shipment from Baku port
Azerbaijan discloses volume of receipts in fixed assets for Q1 2021
Kazakhstan boosts imports from Turkmenistan y-o-y
Turkmenbashi Oil Refineries extends tender for purchase of gasoline
Italian companies ready to make investments in Iran
Japanese NEXI, Azerbaijan's Economy Ministry sign co-op memorandum
Iran's top nuclear negotiator talks revival of JCPOA, following JCPOA talks
Iran waiting for Vienna talks outcome to get its gas, electricity debts from Iraq
Azerbaijan to purchase tractors from Belarus
Azerbaijan creates working group to prepare "Smart City" and "Smart Village" concept
Turkmenistan Airlines change concept of cargo transportation
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for April 19
Uzbekistan's chemical imports from Turkey grows
Iran's renewable energy power plants increasing production
Azerbaijan appoints new ambassadors to several countries
Turkmenistan's Balkan region opens tender for construction of new village
Georgia sees increase in electricity imports from Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani president signs order to recall ambassador to Spain and Andorra
Britain’s M&S to boost online capacity with second warehouse
Azerbaijan appoints new ambassador to Spain
Iranian banks should stick to interest rates set by Central Bank - CBI governor
Exports from Iran's Gilan Province rise
Iran announces new rules for cryptocurrency mining
Technip Energies completes overhaul of SOCAR’s petrochemical complex
Iran's NISOC discloses amount of saved funds
IMF unveils outlook for ratio of Azerbaijan's state budget deficit to GDP
All news