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Fears Bosnia unrest could spread

Monday, February 10, 2014 - 01:47

Feb.10 - Concern is mounting that several days of severe unrest and anti-government protest in Bosnia is uncovering some deep-seated economic problems and could undermine the stability of the entire region. Hayley Platt reports.

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Residents in the Bosnian town of Tuzla begin cleaning up. Last week rioters set fire to the government building. They're angry over mass unemployment, unpaid wages and corruption. Many have criticised the government for failing to tackle the problems. (SOUNDBITE) (Bosnian) PROFESSOR AT TUZLA UNIVERSITY, DAMIR ARSENIJEVIC, SAYING: "The people of Tuzla have finally said that they have had enough of the nepotist, the corrupt, and the unprofessional government. A government that for the past 20 years hasn't listened to the people and their anger.'' Tuzla was once the industrial heart of Bosnia. Now most of its factories and businesses have gone bust after privatisation failed to bring prosperity. Those who do still have a job haven't been paid for months. (SOUNDBITE) (Bosnian) CHEMICAL ENGINEER, ENVER MUHAMEDOVIC, SAYING: "Our last salary was paid on March 15 last year. That was for February." The protests quickly spread across the country. At the weekend they reached the capital of Sarajevo where hundreds were injured. Some commentators fear the civil unrest could spread even further. IG's Alistair McCaig. SOUNDBITE: Alistair McCaig, Market Commentator, IG, saying (English): "It's the youth unemployment that is really pretty awful in quite a number of these countries where we're talking figures well over 50 percent and over 60 percent and when you consider six out of 10 are kids leaving school are unlikely to get a job that does create a breeding ground for unrest." The protests highlight the public's resentment over the country's complex and disorganised government following the 1992 war. The result, say its critics - political paralysis and economic stagnation, and a growing gap between rich and poor. Many remember that brutal conflict - and say the current unrest is an unpleasant reminder of a time they would rather forget.

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Fears Bosnia unrest could spread

Monday, February 10, 2014 - 01:47