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Bosnia & Herzegovina

BiH: Anti-blockade protests erupt as vaccine spread turns into train wreck

After several hundred owners of cafes, restaurants, hair salons and fitness centers gathered in Banja Luka on Monday to protest the government’s crackdown on the coronavirus pandemic, Sarajevo citizens gathered on Tuesday to call on authorities state to intervene down and leave the wheel to “someone who will do the job better than them”.

According to participants, the rally in Banja Luka was held after the government failed to protect their businesses during the blockade. The government allowed the opening of cafes while banning outdoor services, while many other facilities remain closed. This time, the protests were peaceful in contrast to the first march, when there were several clashes with police.

The protest in Sarajevo was somewhat different, in that participants demanded the resignations of the Federation of BiH government at the unit level and the BiH Council of Ministers at the state level. Maja Gasal-Vražalica, one of the protest organizers, said that after a year and a half since the pandemic began, authorities are still unable to buy the vaccines, stressing that if they are unable to do their job, they should to set aside.

“Why resigns – in a year and a half, maybe a little less, the authorities will not be able to provide a vaccine for BiH. “They have to leave, there is someone who will be responsible, for themselves and for the citizens of BiH,” she told N1.

“Yesterday, Minister (Vjekoslav) Mandić, the person in charge of health care in the Federation of BiH unit, said that he tried, ‘but, you know, he could not’. If you do not know how to do it, then stay away. “You can not be an example for the citizens of this country by communicating with citizens only through the media and raising your sleeves to be the first to receive the vaccine,” said Gasal-Vražalica.

As N1 reports, Sarajevo residents have blocked the main road near the BiH Parliament building as part of the “Fight for Life” protest. Their mottos were “Earn your salary”, “Mandatory PCR test for anyone entering BiH”, “Enough is enough”, “How can you sleep at night”, etc.

A large group of Sarajevo residents marched as a convoy of vehicles chased them. They made a brief stop in front of the BiH Parliament building and then moved towards the FBiH Government building.

Those who had gathered outside the Federation entity Government building could be heard chanting “killer, killer.”

In the last 24 hours alone, 99 BiH citizens died and more than 1,000 were infected with the coronavirus. There is currently no mass vaccination, as state and entity authorities have failed to purchase a sufficient amount of vaccines. According to unofficial data, about 8,000 BiH citizens were vaccinated in Serbia over a single weekend.

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