BiH: Anti-lockdown protests erupt as vaccine rollout turns into a trainwreck

BiH: Anti-lockdown protests erupt as vaccine rollout turns into a trainwreck

After a few hundreds of owners of coffee shops, restaurants, hair salons and fitness centres gathered on Monday in Banja Luka to protest against the strict measures imposed by the government against the coronavirus pandemic, Sarajevo citizens gathered on Tuesday to call on state authorities to step down and leave the wheel to “somebody who will do the job better than them.”

According to the participants, the gathering in Banja Luka was held after the government failed to protect their businesses during lockdown. The government allowed the opening of coffee shops while banning outdoor services, while numerous other facilities remain closed. This time, the protests were peaceful contrary to the first march, when there were several clashes with police.

The protest in Sarajevo was somewhat different, in that the participants demanded the resignations of the Federation BiH government at entity level and of the BiH Council of Ministers at state level. Maja Gasal-Vražalica, one of the organizers of the protest, said that after a year and a half since the beginning of the pandemic, the authorities are still unable to purchase the vaccines, stressing that if they are incapable of doing their job, they should step aside.

“Why the resignations – in a year and a half, maybe a little less, the authorities haven’t able to procure a vaccine for BiH. They should step aside, there is someone who will be responsible, for themselves and for the citizens of BiH,” she told N1.

“Yesterday, Minister (Vjekoslav) Mandić, the person responsible for health care in the Federation BiH entity, said he tried, ‘but, you know, he couldn’t’. If you do not know how to do it, then stay away. You cannot be an example for the citizens of this country by communicating with citizens only through the media and rolling up your sleeves to be the first to receive the vaccine,” said Gasal-Vražalica.

As N1 reports, Sarajevo residents have blocked the main road near the BiH Parliament building as part of the “Fight for Life” protest. Their mottos were “Earn your salary,” “PCR test mandatory for anyone entering BiH,” “Enough is enough,” “How can you sleep at night” and so forth.

A large group of Sarajevo residents marched as a convoy of vehicles followed them. They made a brief stop in front of the BiH Parliament building, and then moved towards the FBiH Government building.

Those gathered outside the Federation entity’s Government building could be heard chanting “murderers, murderers.”

Just in the last 24 hours, 99 BiH citizens died and more than 1000 were infected with the coronavirus. There is no mass vaccination taking place at the moment, as the state and entity authorities have failed to purchase an adequate amount of vaccines. According to unofficial data, about 8000 BiH citizens were vaccinated in Serbia over one single weekend. /ibna