Sarajevo (Photo credit: Putovati Balkanom)
12 February Wednesday, 2014
Thousands of disgruntled workers, students, and unemployed youth without any ethnic ties have poured onto streets across Bosnia and Herzegovina since the start of angry protests last Tuesday. The long-awaited wave of demonstrations—the biggest and most violent of its kind since the end of the war in 1995—has already been dubbed the “Bosnian Spring”. However, media analysts and experts are still not sure how those demonstrations will develop and what impact they will have on the country.
Demonstrations started in Tuzla and spread over the country
Demonstrations began after Tuzla’s massive gathering of over 10,000 angry workers from the Dita detergent factory, the Konjuh furniture factory, the Resod-Guming motor parts firm, and the Polihem and Poliolchem chemical plants on Tuesday. Demonstrators gathered in front of the cantonal government building to protest against what they said was a catastrophe that had hit their companies.
Police started to fire tear gas and flash-bang grenades at demonstrators at the behest of the cantonal government. After the police interfered and clashed with the demonstrators the situation quickly got out of control and some protestors entered the government buildings and started burning it. The Tuzla demonstrations triggered demonstrations in the capital, Sarajevo, in Mostar, in Zenica, and in the autonomous region of Brcko, where similar demonstrations have been witnessed. On Friday afternoon demonstrators started stoning and burning the presidential building in Sarajevo. During the Bosnian war thousands of Bosniaks were killed defending the presidential building in Sarajevo, but now protesters burned the building and its remarkable library within hours.