This article originally appeared on 2.3.2014 at plenumsa.org
The Plenum of the citizens of Sarajevo — Press release
With actions that directly endangered citizens who, for 25 days straight, have been protesting against the corrupt ruling elite, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Sarajevo Canton openly confirmed its opposition to the social revolt. Instead of securing the protesters’ safety, police officers threatened it by temporarily allowing traffic to resume. It is evident that the Ministry is trying to get the protesters off the streets by any means necessary, including force.
Sunday afternoon the police without prior notice allowed traffic to resume despite the fact that around 50 citizens still stood in the street. The police did not confer with the protesters beforehand, even though the demonstration had been announced until 5 pm.
The citizens responded by forming a cordon and trying to block the traffic again. However, some drivers verbally abused and threatened the protesters. With their decision, the police directly endangered the people at the protests, as not a single driver wanted to stop once the traffic was allowed to resume.
Everything transpired right in front of the police who needed 20 minutes to ‘clear’ Titova Street. Some protesters asked the police to provide their personal details and badge numbers for the purpose of placing responsibility for endangering the safety of the citizens, but the officers merely told them to contact the police administration in the city centre.
Shortly after that, a grey vehicle coming from the direction of Alipašina Street drove into the protesters, injuring one person lightly. The car left the scene immediately, and the antagonised citizens blocked the traffic using rubbish bins, only letting through an ambulance for the injured protester who was taken to the emergency room. The citizens dispersed at 5 pm, returning the rubbish bins in their place.
The Plenum of the citizens of Sarajevo believes that the responsibility for Sunday’s events lies squarely with the police officers who did not honour the agreed duration of the protest. The Plenum calls out the Ministry of Internal Affairs for directly endangering public safety.
The plenum also appeals to all citizens to use alternate traffic routes during protests and in that way show their solidarity with their fellow citizens and ensure their safety.
This incident notwithstanding, the Plenum of the citizens of Sarajevo reiterates to the cantonal authorities that the citizens will not leave the streets but will continue to demand more just living and working conditions.
We are fighting for our rights!
The Plenum of the citizens of Sarajevo supports all plenums in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the struggle for social justice and dignity for all.