Highlights of the Week Ending Sunday, 9 March 2014

Our weekly summary provides a rundown of notable events to date as well as links to articles published in English over the past week from across the blogosphere.

Some notable events, collected from various sources:

So far (since protests began the week of February 3), the following cities and towns and communities have held rallies, protest walks, sit-ins, and/or citizens’ plenums (may not be all-inclusive, newly added towns in red): Banja Luka, Bihać, Brčko, Bugojno, Cazin, Donji Vakuf, Fojnica, Goražde, Ilidža, Konjic, Maglaj, Mostar, Odžak, Orašje, Prijedor, Sarajevo, Tešanj, Travnik, Tuzla, Zavidovići, Zenica. Citizens of eight of the ten cantons in the Federation entity have formed representative plenums, as have citizens of the Brčko district. (Compiled from various sources.)

The breaking news as of Monday, March 10 is that a candidate has been named for the office of executive of the Tuzla Canton. Bahrija Umihanić is a professor at the School of Economics of the University of Tuzla and is the owner of a commercial bakery in the town of Živinica. Umihanić now has a specified period of time in which to name candidates for the cantonal ministries. Then the Cantonal Assembly will take a vote on his candidacy and cabinet of ministers. (Sources:  Klix.ba, BHRT)

A disturbingly common thread this past week has been police crackdowns against protesters. Incidents were recounted by protesters in Sarajevo, Brčko, and Mostar of “informal interviews,” intimidation, arrests, and physical abuse. Some examples follow:

  • 10 March: Police in the Middle Bosnian Canton, for the period of February 6 to 17, submitted 709 warrants for violating the public peace; 150 people were named for throwing rocks at the cantonal government building in Travnik on 7 February, identified through photographs and video. (Source: Info Kanal 6)
  • 10 March: “Police Lunged at Demonstrators in Mostar” — Oslobodjenje
  • 10 March, Mostar: YouTube video interview of Feđo Fajić recounting that he and a group of a few young women, while walking with flags in Mostar, were stopped by a cordon of police. When they went another route, they were surrounded by police and effectively pinned against a building wall. When Fajić asked if they were being arrested and on what grounds, he was told that the next time he would be beaten. Title: Statement of Feđo Fajić about threats received by police; also reported by AbrašMedia
  • 7 March, Brčko: According to an unnamed source on the Facebook page called Informacije o protestima u BiH bez medijskog spina (Information about the protests in BiH without media spin), the police department of the Brčko District has resumed the practice of “voluntary friendly” conversations with residents of the district. This time conversations concern participants in the Plenum of Citizens of the Brčko District of BiH. In an “informal interview,” the subject was requested to cancel the next day’s “celebration” in front of the district government building, and if he did not, he would be named as a “standard bearer of the demonstration” and charged with a criminal act with a fine of about 1000 KM. (Source: above-linked Facebook page, terms in quotes in the original)
  • 7 March, Sarajevo, one month since demonstrations began in Sarajevo: Protesters were met by a cordon of police in riot gear preventing them from marching in the street, as they had been doing for most of the previous month. Three people were arrested and held overnight (Sources: AbrašMedia and posts on the Sarajevo Plenum Facebook page; see also statement by Bojan Svrdlin, one of the protesters arrested)
  • 7 March, Sarajevo: Individual identified as “N.T.” arrested for setting fire to presidency building, charged with terrorism. (Source: AbrašMedia, Ministry of the Interior press release; see also Balkan Insight link below)
  • 3 March, Sarajevo: YouTube video of a woman describing being detained by force and held overnight by police and beaten, having been picked up after a protest. She denies their claim that she hit one of them with an umbrella. Title: Police Brutality Towards a Protester in Sarajevo
  • 2 March, Sarajevo: As noted last week, on Sunday afternoon Sarajevo police opened to traffic a street that protesters were still occupying — without first notifying them. A protester was subsequently hit by a car and sustained light injuries. (Original press release is now translated on BH Protest Files)

Running list of accomplishments, from the “Rezultati” sidebar of www.bhplenum.info (no changes since last week):

“Fallen” governments:

  • Tuzla Canton
  • Una-Sana Canton
  • Sarajevo Canton
  • Zenica-Doboj Canton

Resignations:

  • Chief Executive of the Tuzla Canton, Sead Čaušević
  • Chief Executive of the Zenica-Doboj Canton, Munib Husejnagić
  • Chief Executive of the Sarajevo Canton, Suad Željković
  • President of the Assembly of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, Ramiz Jelovac

Other demands met:

  • The Tuzla Canton Assembly abolished the practice of “golden parachutes” (one year of salary paid to former assembly representatives and government officials)
  • The Sarajevo Canton Assembly accepted the demands of the Plenum of Citizens of Sarajevo
  • The Municipal Council of Cazin adopted all of the demands of the Plenum of Citizens of Cazin
  • The Assembly of the Bosnian-Podrinje Canton Goražde abolished the practice of “golden parachutes” and reduced the salaries of the assembly representatives and members of goverment
  • Representatives in the Sarajevo Cantonal Assembly reduced their own salaries by 20 percent

Upcoming special plenum events and demonstrations in Bosnia:

This section will list events beyond the scope of daily and weekly meetings and demonstrations.

Plenum sites with English translations:

Sarajevo: http://plenumsa.org/rubrika/more-languages/ (note that as of 10 March the site is down for technical reasons, but work to restore it is in progress per the Sarajevo Plenum Facebook page)

We’ll be adding sites under the heading “Plenum Sites in English,” which is located in the right-hand column of every page.

Further reading — analysis and opinion published in the English-speaking press last week (and anything we missed in prior weeks):

Bosnia Arrests Two for Sarajevo Protest ‘Terrorism’ by Elvira M. Jukic, 10 March 2014, BIRN; Balkan Insight

The Self-Destruction of the Republika Srpska, by Lily Lynch, 7 March 2014, The Balkanist

Where West failed, people power spurs change in Bosnia by Maja Zuvela and Daria Sito-Sucic, 4 March 2014, Reuters

Bosnia-Herzegovina: corruption protests fuel a potential political spring, unsigned, 28 February 2014, with accompanying interviews in English, Euronews

The Thieves of Bosnia by Milada Vachudova, 24 February 2014, Foreign Affairs

Human Rights Watch report on police violence against protesters February 5-9, 21 February 2014, Human Rights Watch, Berlin

The case of the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina and his Powers by Miroslav Baros, 14 December 2010, on EJIL: Talk, the blog of the European Journal of International Law

We’ve added a set of links to blogs that consistently publish English-language articles about Bosnia under the heading “Comments and Analysis,” which is located in the right-hand column of every page.

Get involved:

March 9, London: Solidarity with protests in Bosnia-Herzegovina (Facebook event page — featured image is from the event!)

Bosnia Solidarity Committee (Facebook campaign page, ongoing)

We’re hoping to make this a regular feature, to be published every Monday (or so!). Add any articles or events we missed and give us a heads up about upcoming events in the comments! Or tweet your event to @BHProtestFiles.

3 responses to “Highlights of the Week Ending Sunday, 9 March 2014

  1. Pingback: Protests in Bosnia and Herzegovina: LIVE BLOGS AND UPDATES·

  2. Pingback: The Plenum Has The Power – Challenges for the movement in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the need for solidarity |·

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