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news 26 Jul 13

Police Question Bosnian ID Protesters

Several people are being questioned by Sarajevo police for organizing and participating in the June protests, which demanded adoption of a law on personal numbers.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

Ten persons have been summoned to attend a police hearing on suspicion that they broke the law on security in traffic for parking cars in front of the garages of the Bosnian parliament on June 5, which was the first move in the month-long protest of citizens in Bosnia.

The protests lasted from June 5 to July 1 in front of the parliament in Sarajevo and spread to many other towns in the country.

Semsudin Maljevic, one of the participants in the protest, told Radio Sarajevo on July 24 that the police were trying to build a case, by pinning responsibility on several persons.

“What we did was our obligation as citizens,” Maljevic said. “I am not running away from my responsibility because everyone fighting the system has to be ready for the consequences.”

He added that none of those being questioned felt like an "organizer" of the protests and that the events were run mainly either by parents whose children did not have documents and by other citizens who supported them.

On June 5, several people came in front of the parliament and parked in front of the exits of the garage, protesting over the plight of baby Belmina Ibrisevic who was unable to leave Bosnia for a life-saving operation.

Over the next few days, several thousand others joined them, after which the government adopted a temporary measure. This allowed personal numbers, basis for all documents, to be issued for the next six months.

But the protesters stayed in front of the building, demanding that parliament, which was in session that day, adopt a permanent law so that the problem could not arise again

As parliamentarians interrupted their session, thousands of protesters started spreading around the building and blocking all the exits, demanding adoption of the law the same day.

The blockade lasted until the next morning, on June 7, when the High Representative, Valentin Inzko, promised that he would push for the law to be adopted.

But the protests continued during the rest of June with people gathering on main squares in towns across the country.

Since the blockade of the building began, parliament has not held any sessions as first Serb and then Croat officials questioned their security in the capital, refusing to attend on the grounds that they were in physical danger.

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