The Explosion: A troop of actors was scheduled to perform free of charge on the second of June before an audience of ‘Youth-Action’ workers camped near a large complex of student dormitories in New Belgrade, a suburb of Belgrade. Student representatives had requested that the performance be held in a large open amphitheatre so that those other than members of the Youth-Action could attend. Announcing that such free cultural events were the privilege of the Youth-Action only, the authorities scheduled the performance for a small theatre. Angered by this, several students attempted to force their way into the theatre before the performance, but after a short struggle were expelled by the police. News of the expulsion flashed through the student village and soon a crowd of over a thousand students gathered in front of the theatre. After only a few minutes of hesitation the crowd attacked the theatre, breaking windows, ripping off the doors and fighting with those already inside. Police reinforcements arrived with a firetruck, but before they could use its hoses the students captured and burned it. At this the police attacked. The students responded with barricades made of overturned cars and stones. After several violent clashes the students retreated to their dormitory village to discuss further action.

March on Belgrade: Discussions lasting through the night produced a plan whereby the students would march en masse the next morning to a central square in downtown Belgrade. There they would place before the public the following demands: the immediate release of all students arrested in the previous day’s riot, the resignation of the chief of police, and the withdrawal of all police from the student village in New Belgrade.

On the morning of the third of June, three to four thousand students formed up and began the 10 kilometre march to downtown Belgrade. Approximately midway they were met by a blockade of thousands of police gathered from all over Serbia. As they neared the blockade the President of the Parliament of Serbia and the President of the League of Communists stepped forward and invited the students to negotiate. But without warning, soon after negotiations had begun, the police opened fire with their pistols and charged the students. In the violent battle that ensued 60 to 70 people were wounded, including the two government officials who had attempted to negotiate with the students.

Mass Meeting: That afternoon ten thousand students met in New Belgrade and decided to form an ‘Action Committee’ to achieve their demands. While this meeting was going on, in downtown Belgrade a group of several hundred students occupied the Philosophy and Sociology Faculty of the University of Belgrade. Later that afternoon groups of students distributed in the streets and cafés leaflets which read as follows:


On the evening of June 3rd thousands of students in Nis, a large industrial centre in Serbia, marched in the streets manifesting their solidarity with the students of Belgrade.

Occupation of the Faculties: As mentioned before, the Philosophy and Sociology Faculty was occupied on the afternoon of June 3rd. It was there that the organizational forms, the general assembly of all the students and professors and the functional action committees, were born. From the Philosophy and Sociology Faculty the occupation of other faculties was organized. With a high degree of inter-faculty coordination, students established committees for the elaboration of their demands, for political agitation and propaganda, and for the construction of student-worker unity. It was not long before the facades of the buildings were covered with posters carrying such slogans as: ‘students, workers and peasants unite against the bureaucrats’, ‘tomorrow without those who sold yesterday’, ‘down with the red bourgeoisie’, ‘show a bureaucrat that he is incapable and he will quickly show you what he is capable of’, ‘more schools, fewer cars’, and ‘brotherhood and equality for all the people in Yugoslavia’.