Belgrade University students continued their blockade of the University Rector‘s offices on Monday when Rector Ivanka Popovic met with them on Sunday for the first time since the blockade began on Friday.
The students are part of the 1 in 5 Million initiative which has been organizing the regular weekly protests in Belgrade. They are demanding the dismissal of Finance Minister Sinisa Mali and Education Minister Mladen Sarcevic as well as conditions for free and fair elections.
Earlier, the Rector‘s Board condemned Friday‘s physical assaults on the students who were in the building, saying they were initiated “by evident political rivals”. “The Board supports all the realistic student demands aimed at improving classes and science. We especially support every initiative to increase the available space for classes and secure quality textbooks and literature,” a statement said but added that the demand for the Rector to request the dismissal of the education minister does not fall within the scope of the University’s competencies. The Board also appealed to the students to allow Rectorate staff to do their jobs.
Rector Popovic told N1 that the students are not allowing her staff into the building. “We had a meeting with the students, expecting constructive talks with both sides showing understanding for the situation. We had the impression that some progress would be made but this morning at 05:30 the students took the keys to the building from the doorman,” she said. “The staff are being denied their right to work,” she said.