Protest Marchers Pile Pressure on Bosnia’s Federation Govt

Several hundred people staged protest marches from various Bosnian towns to Sarajevo, where they demanded the resignation of the Federation entity government.

Around 200 protesters gathered in front of the Federation Parliament in Sarajevo, demanding that the authorities fulfill demands submitted a month ago by all the plenums organized in towns in the entity.

Among other things they demanded the resignation of the entity government and to be received in the parliament to address someone.

The Federation Parliament was not in session today, however, and one is not planned until the end of May.

Some protesters said they would sleep in front of the building until their demands were met. Many held up banners calling for social justice and freedom.

A large banner said that the “March of Freedom” was a path of no return. Others shouted that they wanted jobs for everyone and factories to work.

Media reports said other people from other towns said they would joined them on the way, increasing the number of protesters to around a thousand so far.

‘We will demand an open session of the Federation Parliament in which representatives of municipalities where plenums were organized will participate,’ one protester said ahead of the protests.

‘We are demanding that the Federation Government fulfill the ten demands we sent them. We will not leave Sarajevo until they do that.’

Many were reported to be heading to Sarajevo from Mostar by train where they will join the protests.

Participants of plenums from several dozen towns from the Federation gathered a month ago in front of the entity government in Sarajevo and read out their demands, starting with the resignation of the entity government.

They also demanded that all current privatization processes be stopped and that all privatizations conducted so far be subjected to review.

Other demands were that all charges made against participants in street protests should be dropped and that officials should be stripped of various perks, including receiving salaries for a year after their terms in office end.

The authorities were also told to change the law on taxes, so that citizens pay taxes in accordance with their wealth, and that taxes on basic groceries be abolished.

Protests in Bosnia started in the northern town of Tuzla on February 5, when several hundred redundant workers from several large companies from the region, which had been privatized and shut down, took to the streets.

Protests then spread and turned violent, resulting in buildings being burned in Tuzla, Zenica, Mostar and Sarajevo, including the Bosnian Presidency building, where the state archives are stored. Four prime ministers of cantons in Bosnia’s Federation entity subsequently resigned.

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