Many Foreigners Participated at the Protest in Sarajevo: We Support the Struggle of BiH Citizens

Medina i stranciBy: Medina Malagić

A large number of foreigners in BiH expressed their support to today’s democratic protests that took place in Sarajevo.

BiH citizens gathered in front of the BiH state institutions today to demand an immediate adoption of a law on the unique master citizen number at the state level, and they requested that parliamentarians reduce their salaries by 30 percent and for the money to be placed in a fund for sick children.

Foreigners who are in our country agree that this event is the first of its kind that they have seen in Sarajevo, and they unanimously support the struggle of BiH citizens for their basic human rights and the rights of infants.

“I understand the situation in all of BiH after the war, and it is so incredible now to see such a movement. There are a lot of different generations to see here. To live here in Sarajevo, you cannot ignore this kind of movement and expression. It is impossible”, said Betania Ramos Scroder from Brazil.

Alban Ukaj is an actor from Kosovo who has been living in Sarajevo for several years. “I think after 10 years after the war, I think this is the moment for something to change in BIH. I live here. It is my duty to be a part of this, to change something in BiH.”

Nazim Choukroun comes from France and has been living in Sarajevo for 7 years. His son was born in Sarajevo and his wife is Bosnian. “I feel really close to the people here. This problem with the ID number is just a small example of how BiH is not functioning well right now and how the people are suffering from this. I hope this will go further on and that people will take part in changing what is wrong in their own country. Because right now it is not people taking politicians hostage. It is the opposite. It is more than 15 years now that politicians are dividing people in order to keep their power, their money and right now people are fed up with stories about which nation do you belong do, what did you do during the war, and now they want a future for themselves. It is practiced everywhere in the world, but in BiH it is something similar and different and I am here to support my friends.”

Several human rights graduate students from the Center for Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Studies of the University of Sarajevo (CIPS) were in attendance today.

“I am here today because I am a human rights advocate. I’ve lived in BiH for two years. Even though it is not my home country, the people have welcomed me as If it is my home and they deserve a better government than this. They deserve full human, civil and political rights. From the US, people have definitely started to pick up on it (Washington Post, New York Times, regional outlets)”, said human rights activist and postgraduate student at CIPS Julia Dowling.

Aarif Abraham is from England and is also a graduate student at CIPS. He came out here today to express his solidarity with the protestors. “I am here to show solidarity with the people who are protesting against government policy. And also, not just government policy, but about the right to have rights. I think this is a legitimate struggle.”

The protest for the lack of an adoption on the unique citizen master number began on 5 June when a group of citizens blocked the exit from the garage of the BIH Parliament with their automobiles. The direct cause was three-month old baby Belmina Ibrišević from Gračanica, who was not able to leave the country for medical treatment abroad because she did not have a unique master citizen number. The demand was for Belmina to immediately receive an ID number so that she could leave the country for medical treatment abroad.

The blockade was soon joined by a large number of citizens, after which they blocked all exits from two buildings. State parliamentarians, people and guests in the Parliament spent a period of time in the building of the state institutions, and police officers helped them exit the building at 4:00 the next morning.

Numerous international media disseminated the news on the protests in Sarajevo, and words of support arrived from the region and throughout the world: Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Germany, Turkey and the USA.

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