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news 07 Mar 14

Bosnia Protesters Reject Officials' Complaints

While citizens are still protesting in the streets of several towns, the authorities in Sarajevo are trying to discredit them, saying they are causing a nuisance to the rest of population.

Elvira M. Jukic

One month after the escalation of the largest protests seen in Bosnia in two decades, hundreds of people are still taking to the streets of Sarajevo, Mostar, Zenica and other towns each day.

Heavy police forces in Sarajevo secured the streets and prevented the protesters of blocking the main crossroads on Friday.

The Sarajevo Canton Interior Ministry told Balkan Insight that three persons were arrested related to the protests for trying to block the traffic.

The protesters walked to the building of the US Embassy and met with David Barth, of USAID, who stated his support for the protesters and said the police should not obstruct people's right to hold peaceful demonstrations.

Since the violent episodes on February 7, when mobs burned several official buildings, including four cantonal government HQs, the Bosnian Presidency and the State Archive, the demonstrations have been peaceful and citizens' "plenums" have continued working on articulating their demands.

Traffic in the capital, Sarajevo, remained blocked again on March 6 by around a hundred protesters demanding better living conditions.

However, the cantonal authorities have accused the protesters of blocking traffic and causing problems to thousands of other people who cannot move around easily since the main road is out of use.

“Citing 'preventing freedom of movement and endangering basic human rights and freedoms', the government that resigned in the Canton of Sarajevo is trying to discredit the protests and undermine civic will power,” a press release from the Plenum of Sarajevo Canton Citizens said on March 6.

“Citizens know well who for years has endangered their basic human rights and freedoms,” the Plenum added. “They will not fall for the latest attempts of the government to manipulate their will and demands.”

On Thursday, the protesters in the city called for more official resignations after the four cantonal prime ministers resigned amid unrest on February 7.

None of the four cantonal governments has been appointed since then. The plenums are demanding the formation of expert governments.

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