8 Feb 2014

Anger over jobs erupts in protest

11:26 am on 8 February 2014

Protesters in Bosnia-Hercegovina have set fire to government buildings and fought with riot police in the capital, Sarajevo, and other towns as unrest spreads over growing economic hardship.

Police try to hold off protesters as fire rages in Sarajevo.

Police try to hold off protesters as fire rages in Sarajevo. Photo: AFP

The long-simmering anger over lack of jobs and political inaction has erupted in the worst civil unrest in Bosnia since the war of the early 1990s.

Hundreds of people have been injured in three days of protests over high unemployment and perceived inability of politicians to improve the situation.

Police used rubber bullets and tear gas to quell unrest in the town of Tuzla and in Sarajevo, where black smoke could be seen coming from the presidency building.

On Thursday, clashes between police and demonstrators in Tuzla injured more than 130 people, mostly police officers.

The unrest began in the northern town earlier in the week, with protests over the closure and sale of factories which had employed most of the local population.

Demonstrators in other towns, including Mostar, Zenica and Bihac, supported the Tuzla workers and criticised the government for failing to tackle the rampant unemployment.