By Medina Malagic – Sarajevo
The protests and plenums in the FB&H continue. However, what differentiates Sarajevo from the rest of the FB&H is the daily blocking of traffic on the main intersection in Sarajevo for the past month. Sarajevo has drawn much attention and criticism in the past month, particularly for the daily blocking of a main intersection during the day, resulting in traffic jams and daily inconvenience for citizens who complain that it is very difficult to get around the city.
However, for many people daily protests are a way to send a strong, necessary message to the failure of the B&H political system to provide for even the basic rights of its citizens. Daily protests and citizens’ plenums can be considered a radical concept in this country, characterized by citizens’ lethargy for nearly two decades and continuing to elect the same politicians into office. However, for many people the spark that ignited the social unrest one month ago was a clear sign that something is finally happening in B&H, and that the lethargy and stagnation is giving way to action spearheaded by B&H’s citizens.
Two Women on a Mission
Two Bosnian women who now live in the Netherlands during the first week of the protests, AmraHadžiarapović and Ella Gazibara, launched a project called ‘Crazy Enough to Change Bosnia’. The very title of the first video that they launched, called ‘Crazy Enough to Change Bosnia’ is testament to the belief that what is taking place in B&H today is the birth of a movement that has gone too far now to give up, as well as the novelty of daily protests and citizens’ assemblies that are levying demands on their political leaders.
In an interview with the well-known Bosnian news portal Klix, Amra said that the title of this project is appropriate, as they believe that only those who are ‘crazy’ enough to go out on the streets every day to protest and fight against injustice are able to change the established system.
The question of the efficacy of protests is not peculiar to B&H, however. In protests throughout the world, there are always those who will be persistent and engage in protests that involve tactics such as the blocking of traffic. On the other hand, many people, despite supporting the aims of the protests, might not agree with the manner of protesting, especially when it comes to blocking traffic. The efficacy of protests starts to be questioned after protests continue for some time, but concrete change is not produced.
These women seek to propel the dynamics and momentum of the protests further, especially in Sarajevo, where daily protests have been ongoing for one month.
Their Facebook page called ‘Crazy Enough to Change Bosnia’ is aimed at raising global support for the ongoing protests, as well as to provide support to the B&H protestors.
Since Friday, Sarajevo Protestors are Prohibited from Blocking Traffic
Friday, 7 March marked exactly one month since the start of the protests that are concentrated mainly in cities throughout the FB&H. Since Friday, there was a much heavier presence of police officers at the protests in Sarajevo, and even today protestors are relegated to protesting on the sidewalk across the street from the B&H Presidency.
The scene at the protests on Friday was a stark image, showing a disproportionate balance between the number of protestors and heavily armed police officers and special police forces. Protestors are mainly older people, the disenfranchised and unemployed who have been blocking one of the main intersections in Sarajevo for nearly one month to express their deep dismay at the B&H political system, which they blame for not doing enough to ensure even the basic rights and needs of B&H citizens.
Today, there are around 100 citizens protesting in Sarajevo, holding up signs that send a clear message to B&H politicians and declaring the reasons for their daily protests.