Thursday, 22 April 2010

Bosnians riot against IMF cuts

ANGRY Bosnian war veterans have risen up against IMF-imposed austerity measures in Sarajevo.

Report Reuters: "Thousands of veterans of Bosnia's 1992-95 war clashed with police on Wednesday in a protest over benefit cuts in the most violent incident for years in the troubled Balkan country.

"Former soldiers and their families converged from across Bosnia's Muslim-Croat federation to vent anger at a government decision to toughen criteria for their benefits as an austerity measure under an International Monetary Fund stand-by deal.

"Doctors from Sarajevo's Clinical Centre said around 60 people were injured, one seriously with a fractured skull, in disturbances that lasted several hours. Officials said 15 police were among the injured. One man was seen bleeding from the head.

"The windows of buildings lining the street were smashed after police fired stun grenades.

"Efforts to defuse the situation failed later with most protesters rejecting a proposed deal with the government and demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Mustafa Mujezinovic.

"Some protesters too young to have served in the 1992-95 war later set the government's ground floor offices on fire without police present."

Reuters added in a separate report: "In July 2009, Bosnia signed a 1.2-billion-euro stand-by deal with the IMF and pledged major spending cuts to achieve a budget deficit of 4.5 percent of GDP, down from nearly 8 percent. "