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news 04 Apr 14

Rock Band Urges Bosnians to Keep Protests Alive

Sarajevans enjoyed a surprise concert by Dubioza Kolektiv, a popular band, whose members urged them to keep up street protests and support the newly formed civic plenums.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

While performing several songs in the Bosnian capital's main Ferhadija pedestrian area, the popular band Dubioza Kolektiv urged the citizens of Sarajevo to maintain support for the street protests and civic plenums that have toppled local governments in the country.

More than 100 people participated in a plenum held later on April 3 at the Skenderija plateau. The plenum's first home, the building of Dom Mladih, is no longer available to them since the management demanded repayment of expenses.

In spite of the pop band's urging, the wave of protests that began in Bosnia in February is losing momentum.

Public protests have continued in Sarajevo, but in the last few weeks only a few dozen people have showed up.

In a move to re-energise the plenums, the pop band joined the session in Sarajevo where, instead of commenting verbally, they played socially aware hit songs.


But some of the band members said that this was not a regular concert but their way to push people to speak up about problems they have with the society.

 

We are here to create some atmosphere which would inspire people and to be part of all this,” said Brano Jakubovic, “We are not here to entertain anyone.”


The plenum in Sarajevo Canton meanwhile is waiting to see whether the Cantonal Assembly will accept its list of demands for reform.

In Tuzla, in northern Bosnia, the local plenum has succeeded in getting a new expert-comprised government appointed.

Plenums are also at work in other towns in Bosnia's Federation entity, such as Zenica and Mostar.

Citizens in the northwestern town of Bihac have also organized forums to deal with people's demands. Their cantonal prime minister was one of four to resign in February as a result of the unrest.

The protests in Bosnia started in Tuzla on February 5, when several hundred redundant workers from several large companies from the region that had been privatized took to the streets.

Thousands then joined street protests against the authorities, for having allowed such badly conducted privatizations, and for allowing the chasm between the rich and the poor in Bosnia to widen.

Some protests turned violent, resulting in buildings being burned in Tuzla, Zenica, Mostar and Sarajevo, including the building of the Bosnian Presidency, where the state archives stored.

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Background

The ‘Bosnian Spring’ Starts With a Bang

The Bosnian protests are the result of years of corruption, economic decay and in-fighting among ethno-political elites, but it is far from certain that they can bring real change.