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Protests rock Bosnia

Tuzla/Sarajevo, Bosnia, Feb. 7 (Reuters): Protesters across Bosnia set fire to government buildings and fought with riot police today as long-simmering anger over lack of jobs and political inertia fuelled a third day of the worst civil unrest in Bosnia since a 1992-95 war.

Protests remained largely contained to the Croat-Muslim Bosniak half of Bosnia but were gaining in intensity.

Tear gas and smoke blanketed downtown Sarajevo, where police fired rubber bullets on several thousand protesters who set fire to the headquarters of the cantonal government and to a section of the country’s presidency building.

They also tried to force their way into the presidency, but were repelled by special police firing water cannon. Around 100 people were injured in Sarajevo, including 60 policemen.

Several thousand protesters in the southern town of Mostar stormed a local government building and started throwing computers and other equipment out of the windows. Police did not intervene.

In the town of Tuzla, once the industrial heart of northern Bosnia, protests over factory closures again turned violent. Demonstrators stoned and torched two buildings of the local authority and clashed with police. Trapped by the flames, some leapt from windows, a Reuters photographer said.

 
 
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