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Bosnia protests: more than 150 injured, presidential office on fire

7 February 2014, 22:07

More than 150 people were wounded in clashes between police and protestors in Bosnia on Friday as anger over the country's struggling economy boiled over. Hospitals in Sarajevo said over 100 people had been injured during clashes there, while there were reports of 50 people wounded in the central town of Zenica and another 11 in the northeastern city of Tuzla.

Protestors in Bosnia set light to a presidential office in the capital Sarajevo during a demonstration Friday, state news agency Fena said.

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in several Bosnian cities this week, angry at what they say is the government's failure to tackle high unemployment and poverty.

Protesters set fire to Bosnia's presidency building - witness

Protesters set fire to a section of the presidency building in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo on Friday, the third day of violent protests against economic and political stagnation in the Balkan country.

A Reuters reporter on the scene said protesters had smashed windows and threw a flare into the building despite special police's efforts to disperse them with water cannon.

Police use stun grenades, rubber bullets to disperse Bosnia protesters

Police in Bosnia fired rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse hundreds of anti-government protesters in the capital Sarajevo on Friday, a Reuters reporter said, on the third day of unrest over unemployment and political inertia in the Balkan country.

The protests began on Wednesday in the northern town of Tuzla, where workers took to the streets angry at the closure of factories sold off by the state.

Protesters angry over Bosnia's devastated economy broke into a government building in Tuzla, destroying furniture and throwing television sets through windows.

Some 100 hooded young men were seen storming the building with flames and thick smoke billowing from the first floor windows a short while later.

Thousands of protesters cheered them on as they carried out their rampage and prevented two fire engines from reaching the building.

The violence came on the third day of protests over the dire economic situation in a country where unemployment stands at 44 percent.

Protests have spread to other cities. Demonstrators clashed with police and pelted government buildings with stones in Zenica and Sarajevo Friday, the news portal reported.

As protests have spread, the demands have broadened, with demonstrators asking not just for better economic conditions but for an overhaul of the political system. According to non-profit Transparency International Bosnians experience more corruption than any other Balkan state.

An election is scheduled for October.

Prime Minister Nermin Niksic, who held an emergency government meeting on Thursday, has recognized the validity of the protesters' complaints, but implored them to refrain from violence.

Bosnia, which was worst hit by the violent disintegration of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, remains ethnically divided although nearly two decades have passed since the war ended.

Bickering between ethnic leaders has stalled virtually all reforms, and the country is in dire straits economically.

Voice of Russia, Reuters, AFP, dpa

Source: Bosnia-protests-more-than-150-injured- presidential-office-on-fire-9921/

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