As a result of increasing totalitarian practice to monopolize all aspects in FYROM’s society, today students from FYROM’s most important university UKIM, in central part of city of Skopje, protested a new legislative that, contrary to the law granting autonomy to universities, would give the government unlimited control over these educational institutions. The law provides, among other tendencies against the autonomy of the universities, a state-organized parallel examination of the students, especially in the field of “national sciences” (archaeology, history, anthropology, classical studies) which are taught in the Faculty of Philosophy of UKIM.
A large number of students, dissatisfied that even a direct meeting with FYROM’s far-right Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski failed to result with the withdrawal of this law, decided to occupy the faculty buildings. The well-coordinated action that took place in front of the Faculty for Philosophy consisted of speeches by the members of the organizing body, the Assembly of Students (Студентски Пленум). The speeches ranged from the condemnation of the attempt of the central government to impose control over academic organizations, including criticism of the inflexibility of Nikola Gruevski to secure a concession to demand by the Assembly of Students, to practical, technical issues of occupying the building, under the motto of creating an “autonomic zone”.
Unlike the protests held in December 2014, this time there was no presence of uniformed police (whose presence on university campuses is illegal). After the speeches and presentation of banners to the public, which included journalists, plenty of students entered the building in an enthusiastic manner, vowing to be firm and persistent in their call for return of academic freedom in FYROM, a society where all pillars of political and cultural life, including TV and the press are almost exclusively controlled by the ethnocentric VMRO-DPMNE government, led for 9 years by Nikola Gruevski.
Vladislav Perunović, correspondent from Skopje, FYROM