Amplifying the People’s Voice of Bosnia. Protest Interviews

14/02/2014 23:05

Source: Revolution News

 

The Struggle for Social Justice in Bosnia:

An excellent interview between activists Valentina and Avi Blecherman of in Sarajevo, regarding the past week of protests in Bosnia. Discussion includes: the peoples assemblies, government surveillance and internet censorship, the resolve of the movement and upcoming events.

Plenums” - public assemblies – are mushrooming all over Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), while protests are ongoing. Popular support for the uprising is high, over 90 percent in the Croat-Musulman half of BiH, and over 70 percent in the Serb part of the Federation.

In Tuzla, Sarajevo, Mostar so many people participate at these public meetings that there are is no space large enough for all of them. All over BiH, people move on with their social uprising and keep organising their plenums. They delegate committees and put forward their demands for social justice.

At protests, people carry signs saying „We are hungry”, in all BiH’s three languages. Hungry not just for food. But for a voice in their own life too.

After their anger exploded, people got down to settle problems on their own. They set up plenums, as people here call them, and these public meetings look close to what could be called direct democracy: people come, debate, and then they take decisions together. Everybody can participate, except politicians  – they talk to the international media like they still mattered. Truth is – they don’t.

Here’s a hint why: „Most bizzare aspect of this development is the fact that while #BiH presidency building (was) burning, 20 meters away people just calmly walk.” (twitted by Marko Pavlović on February 7th).

Another reason is that politicians are set to divide people using the ethnic divide – which people reject – and are seen as their enemies everywhere in BiH.

While EU is hysterical about BiH and tries to snatch the uprising to turn it to its advantage, in EU and in the Balkans, people – not polticians – keep sending solidarity messages to BiH rebels.

Police in Zagreb, Croatia, punish participants at solidarity demo for BiH uprising.

In Berlin, Vienna, Belgrade, Zagreb and Budapest among other cities in the Balkans and Europe people participated in solidarity demonstrations to show support for the uprising in Tuzla, Sarajevo, Mostar, Zenica and dozens more cities in BiH. In Zagreb (Croatia’s capital), police arrested people who demonstrated in solidarity with the uprising in BiH. Same happened in Banja Luca (city located in the Serb part of BiH) people protesting were given huge fines by police, and the government has demanded all images from the protests as their evidence in court on their behalf, apparently no person can say no unless they want to be arrested.

In Tuzla, where the uprising erupted, some 700 people participated at the plenum: „The new government will bring us nothing. It will lead us from one cage to another”, said one rebel participant.

People formed 12 working groups, and already sent the institutions some lists of demands. They set a deadline of 12 hours for their demands to be met by the local government of the Tuzla Canton.

A cold rain could not deter people in Sarajevo to participate at a public assembly, following the social uprising started last week.

In Sarajevo, there were so many people who wanted to participate at the plenums that they had to stay in rain outside the buildings.

In Mostar, people were invited to talk and make proposals „even though we know police in civilian clothes are among us”, twitted Sophie Guesne.

Rebels at a plenum in Tuzla.

Here’s how they work: people come, discuss, debate, make proposals then they agree on them, delegate some of them with strict mandate to pass these proposals over to the institutions.

The public plenum in Mostar demanded the dismissal of the local government in the canton of Herzegovina-Neretva, the elimination of public funding for political parties  (meaning from the state budget), revisions of privatizations, the origin of wealth of the rich be determined, property obtained abusively be confiscated in the entire Bosnia and Herzegovina, the cancellation of privileges of all sorts for politicians and the adjusment of their salaries to the average worker’s wage, social protection be settled by law, civil war victims and families with lots of children be protected in their canton, and the abolition of the statute of limitations for war crimes, for war profiteering and post-war privatization. In Mostar, protests are ongoing at Piazza di Spagna, after the plenum meetings.

Deadline set up for government to meet rebels’ demands, as first steps towards social justice.

As mainstream media is just the manipulation weapon of the state against the people of BiH, rebels announce each other their plans by social media networks or through leaflets. These leaflets distributed in Sarajevo, Tuzla and Mostar call people to work together for social justice and against the economic model that favors the rich.

Nowhere at the plenums in BiH politicians are allowed to pariticipate – it’s worth repeated. One of the members of the tnitiation Committee for the Organization of a Plenum, Svjetlana Nedimović, doctor of Political Science, currently unemployed said that: „People already know what they want,” and that the reason for the exclusion of politicians from the public life is this: „Our public space is contaminated with political parties that are attempting to either discredit everything coming from the citizens, or somehow to find in that something for their own personal use. I think that it is essential to say that there are no [political parties] behind this, that behind this [movement] stand only hunger, humiliation, and the deprivation of all our rights for all of these years.”

Two young brothers who’s Father Fought in the Bosnian War
Sign on Left: Father fought in war 20 years ago. Keep fighting Bosnia and put a simle on your face, its not a sin to die for this country.
Sign on Right: Our father lost his blood while you were stealing and hiding.

A protesting Veteran receives a drink from a friend. His sign reads: Veterans want a unique, honest, truly realistic implementable law for the concerns of the veterans population.

 

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