By Maja Tuljković – Sarajevo
Close to 6.000 disgruntled workers from Dita, Konjuh, Polihem, Resod Guming and Poliolechem companies, followed by citizens, retirees and high school students from the Electrotechnical school gathered today at noon in front of the government of Tuzla Canton for another round of protests that began yesterday. The demands of the workers remain the same, and they also demanded that the Tuzla Canton government release people who were arrested at yesterday’s protests. Of the 27 people arrested yesterday, 24 have been released, and three are still detained. Citizens from Sarajevo, Zenica, Bihać, Kakanj and Prijedor showed up today in front of their cantonal governments to show their support to protestors from Tuzla. Citizens of Srebrenik traveled to Tuzla by foot to join the protests. They said that this time, they are ‘’ready to go until the end’’.
While some protestors threw eggs and stones at the government building in Tuzla, others shouted ‘out with the government’ and ‘thieves, thieves’. In a symbolic move, employees of Dita company lit candles and placed red roses in front of the government building, saying ‘God rest the soul of the government’. They demanded the resignation of the Tuzla Canton government. They removed the flag of the cantonal government from the building and burned it.
Late last night, the cantonal government had a meeting in order to find a way to solve the problems of the dissatisfied workers. The workers were told that the Tuzla Canton government is ready to find a possible solution for the workers and unemployed within the framework of unions and the Economic-Social Council, as well as the tripartite body that includes the participation of employers, unions and the government. Based on the conclusions of the session held last night, the Tuzla Canton government invited representatives of the companies “Dita“, “Konjuh“, “Resod guming“, “Polihem“ and “Poliolchem“ to meet at 13:00 on the premises of the government building to speak about possible solutions to their problems. However, the Prime Minister, ministers and employees left the government building accompanied by police sometime before 13:00. Units of the special support of the Ministry of Interior of Tuzla canton are securing the government of the building, and they have set up cordons 20 meters from the entrance to the building.
In front of the government building at around 13:35, the confrontation between protestors and police escalated, because at one moment protestors began to throw Molotov cocktails in order to try to break the police shield. They managed to destroy the first floor of the government building. In order to diffuse the situation, the police fired tear gas, after which the protestors fled to nearby streets. The police set up cordons on four streets around the government building and made a wide circle. According to latest information, three police officers have been injured, of which two have sustained heavier injuries. There is no information yet as to whether protestors have been injured.
The atmosphere in Tuzla is very tense, but protestors say that it will not stop until the government of Tuzla Canton resigns. As of now, the website of the Tuzla Canton is not available, since the website cannot be opened and their service is unavailable.