Bosnian veterans injured in protest over govt cuts

The action comes two months after the Croat-Bosniak parliament passed a set of laws reforming and cutting cash transfers to war veterans and families of fallen soldiers.

Bosnian veterans injured in protest over govt cuts

Twenty people have reportedly been injured in Sarajevo on Wednesday in clashes with police during a protest by war veterans against measures by the government of Bosnia's Muslim-Croat federation to cut their welfare payments, Balkans media said.

Several thousand Bosniak and Croat veterans of the country’s 1992-5 war gathered in front of the building of the government in downtown Sarajevo for a protest scheduled for noon.

Police fired tear gas to disperse the protestors as they tried to storm the building twice. In subsequent clashes, twenty people have been hurt, radio BH reported.

The protest continued after the initial clashes, but the atmosphere in front of the government building remains tense.

"We are ready to bear our part of the burden to ease the impact of the crisis but everybody else should do the same," said one of the leaders speaking from an improvised stage.

Radio BH reported that veterans in Mostar and Travnik were simultaneously holding peaceful protests in support of the protesters in Sarajevo.

The action comes two months after the Croat-Bosniak parliament passed a set of laws reforming and cutting cash transfers to war veterans and families of fallen soldiers.

The adoption of the laws was a condition for the release of the second installment of the International Monetary Fund’s €1.2 million three-year loan for Bosnia and a World Bank budget support loan of some €82 million.

Under pressure from veteran groups which opposed the law, the government agreed to apply austerity measures regulating veteran payments to all budget beneficiaries.

However, the protestors said the government had failed to adopt necessary by-laws to deliver on their pledge and was instead considering measures that would leave two-thirds of their group without welfare payments.


Agencies

Last Mod: 21 Nisan 2010, 16:44
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