Bosnia and Herzegovina was bracing itself for fresh nationwide rallies on Saturday amid warnings that public anger over the dire economic situation is pushing the country to the brinks.
In a TV interview late on Friday, Interior Minister Fahrudin Radoncic cautioned the government that its indifference and inaction could trigger more unrest. He called for a large-scale campaign to uproot corruption in the country, saying authorities had to launch an “anti-graft tsunami.”
He added that if the government failed to act immediately it will only deteriorate public anger that has already engulfed several towns in Bosnia’s worst unrest since the war in the 1990s.
The anti-government protests started on Wednesday after dozens of newly-privatized companies in a major industrial hub laid off thousands of workers.
Demonstrators set fire to a section of the presidency building in capital Sarajevo. Police have used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters.
At least 300 people have been injured since anti-government protest rallies over faltering economy were launched earlier this week.
The protesters are demanding the resignation of local and regional officials, whom they blame for two decades of political stalemate that has left the economy in dire straits.
“This is so sad to see the towns ablaze less than 20 years after living through another hell,” Jasminka Fisic, an unemployed resident of Sarajevo told AFP, referring to the country’s bloody 1992-1995 inter-ethnic war that left 100,000 dead.
“People are entitled to act and say what they think, but not to demolish towns,” she said.
Bosnia’s unemployment rate stands at 44 percent and one in five people lives below the poverty line, according to the government statistics.
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