Bosnian Workers Start Protest Walk to Croatia

Around 200 workers from bankrupt firms in the Tuzla region spent Wednesday night in a sports centre of the nearby town of Srebrenik after starting a protest walk on December 24 across the border towards Croatia, aiming to "leave the country" because of their hopeless situation.

Media reports from Tuzla said they walked about 40 kilometres on Wednesday. They want the cantonal government to provide one-off financial help, sorts out years of unpaid work and pensions and revive their moribund companies.

Hasan Uzicanin, a worker of the Aida footwear company, told Bosnia's Federation Television they had no hope in Bosnia any longer. "I have nothing to look for in this country anymore," he said.

Aida is one of a number of partly or wholly state companies in the Tuzla region that is either deeply troubled with debts or has been closed down.

Workers from this company as well as others from the detergent firm, Dita, the steel company or the furniture maker, Konjuh, said they had no other option than to protest.

Tuzla was the birthplace of the February protests that spread to dozens of other towns and cities across Bosnia and Herzegovin, bringing tens of thousands of people onto the streets of Sarajevo, Mostar, Zenica and Bihac.

The unrest resulted in several official buildings being set on fire, including the building of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.

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