By Maja Tuljkovic – Sarajevo
Today is exactly one month since the protests began in B&H. Since that day, protestors in Sarajevo have gathered every day at noon in front of the B&H Presidency in order to protest their dissatisfaction with the social situation in B&H and the current government. On the street are mostly dissatisfied workers of companies that are bankrupt, retirees and the unemployed. For the past two days, unregistered taxi drivers have joined the protestors in order to express their dissatisfaction with the failure to adopt adequate laws for taxi drivers and their licenses.
The Director of the FB&H Police Administration DraganLukač informed the House of Representatives of the FB&H Parliament mid-February on the security situation, and said that serious announcements were made for massive protests on 7 March in Sarajevo. So, exactly one month since the protests, which escalated one month ago in riots in several cities throughout the FB&H and caused clashes with protestors and police, there were injuries on both sides. Government institutions were also burned, among which were the B&H Presidency building in Sarajevo. It is not known whether the large presence of police officers and special forces is due to this announcement for another massive protest today. Exactly at noon today, members of the special police made a cordon on both sides of the road in order to prevent the blockade of traffic. Uniformed police officers made a cordon across the street from the B&H Presidency building and police forces were deployed around the building.
At around 13:00, more than 100 citizens who came for the protests started walking on the sidewalk towards the US Embassy in Sarajevo, and whistled and chanted ‘Resignation!’. The police followed the protestors, and did not allow them to walk on the street. When they arrived in front of the US Embassy, they asked for someone from the Embassy to address them, and for someone to tell them why they are not able to block traffic as they did during this past month. The cordon of special police officers near the Technical School in Sarajevo prevented the protestors from coming closer to the US Embassy. A young man at the protests was taken away by police, which led to protestations over this. Afterwards, five representatives of the protestors went to the building of the US Embassy to speak with representatives. Representatives of the US Embassy said that they support their peaceful protests, after which the group started walking towards Skenderija.
Citizens’ opinions when it comes to the protests differ. Some support the daily protests and the blockade of traffic, and others think that this blockade mostly harms ordinary people who have to find alternative ways of transportation to get home and go to work.
Several people even filed criminal charges due to lack of the freedom of movement. Traffic, pedestrians and nervous drivers are present every day on the streets of Sarajevo after the start of the traffic blockade on the intersection between Titova and Alipašina Street, located down the street from the B&H Presidency.
And while some support it and some do not, the only thing that is certain is that the protests will continue. Whether there is a traffic blockade or not, the demands remain the same. And citizens will be on the streets until their demands are met.