Spring Came Early This Year in Bosnia

VICE: Tell us a bit about your perspective on the protests. How did they start, what were some decisive moments, and where are they heading?
Minel Abaz: They started like any other workers’ protest which was held after the Bosnian war in the 90s, so no one expected it would grow to something so massive with the support of organized citizens.

And then there was the most crucial moment of all, when the government (primarily in Tuzla) sent to the workers and citizens the special units of the police which brutally attacked the protesters, which became the spark that still stirs protests in Tuzla, Sarajevo, Mostar, Zenica, and Bihać, which ended in violence, and burning of government institutions.

Now we see protests heading to more solidarity and overcoming ethnic factors in the lower class, and, I hope, to demands for more economical and social justice.

What’s the mood like in Sarajevo?
It’s been a quieter. It’s been a few days since the violent confrontations, but people are still on the streets every day looking for a better life and more equal society. Some cities, like Tuzla, has already started a kind of people’s government, outside of parliamentary political parties, made of workers, students, academics. They are having directly democratic plenum every day.

 

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