Monday Feb 10, 201411:45 PM GMT
Bosnian protesters demand resignation of govt.
Anti-government protesters chant slogans during a rally in Sarajevo February 9, 2014.
Anti-government protesters chant slogans during a rally in Sarajevo February 9, 2014.
Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:46PM
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Thousands of people have held demonstrations in a dozen of Bosnian cities, calling for the resignation of the government in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of two autonomous republics.

On Monday, the protesters demanded that non-partisan experts replace politicians, adding up to their demands on the sixth straight day of protests over unemployment and corruption.

In the capital Sarajevo, hundreds of protesters carried banners that read, "You have been stealing from us for 20 years and now it is over", and "The courts and police are protecting the authorities". Several thousand more staged anti-government demonstrations in other cities.

"If we need to have a war, let it be," said 58-year-old Fehim Lovic, a disabled war veteran who said he supports his three children on a monthly welfare payment of 50 Bosnian marka (25 euros).

"I'm ready to clean the streets without a single penny for two years if this is the price I have to pay for a new and better state," he said.

"My father, mother and brother are unemployed," said 34-year-old Meliha, a former art professor who earns 7 euros ($9.55) a day waiting tables. "I've had enough!"

On Friday, thousands of demonstrators stormed the presidency and other government buildings and set them ablaze in the Balkan country's worst social unrest since the 1992-95 war that left 100,000 people dead and 2.2 million homeless.

The unprecedented tension arose in Bosnia due to people’s anger over high unemployment rate and the authorities’ inability to address the rampant poverty that is affecting a high proportion of the nation.

Hundreds of people have been injured in the violence so far.

Analysts believe that the protests point to deepening social unease over the state of the Bosnian economy and the political inertia in the country almost two decades since the end of its war. Bosnia's unemployment rate stands at more than 40 percent, the highest in the Balkans.

GJH/AS/MAM

 

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