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Turmoil in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Last December in my analysis of The World in 2014 - Europe, in a brief reference to the Balkans, I wrote and queried: "...The unemployment rate in Bosnia-Herzegovina is a startling 44.8 percent. It is 25 percent in Serbia. There has been some stability in the Balkans for sometime, but will it last?" Apparently not! Yesterday, the streets of Sarajevo, Zenica, Mostar, Travnik, Brcko and Tuzla burst into flames, as demonstrators set fire to government buildings in protests over the high unemployment rate and the inability of the government to ameliorate conditions. As reported by the BBC, hundreds have been injured in the past three days of protests. Police used rubber bullets in an attempt to end the demonstrations in Sarajevo and Tuzla in the north. Protesters set fire to the presidency building in Sarajevo. In Tuzla, as reported by the Associated Press, protesters stormed the local government building, threw furniture and files out the windows and then set fire to the building. By late last night, the local government resigned as protesters also set fire to the city's court building. In Zenica, rioters pushed several cars belonging to local officials into a nearby river as local officials there announced their resignations. In Brcko, the local mayor was briefly taken hostage. Also late Friday evening, hundreds of people congregated in the Bosnian Serb capital of Banja Luka in support of demonstrators in other parts of Bosnia. As one protester declared:" People protest because they are hungry, because they don't have jobs. We demand the government resign." Bosnia-Herzegovina has been relatively stable since the end of the 1992-95 war. This present turmoil was triggered earlier this week by the closure and sale of factories in Tuzla that had employed most of the local population. One reason I cited this region last December as I looked forward to 2014, was the alarmingly high unemployment rate in this region with a history of ethnic violence. It doesn't take an Einstein to figure that such a volatile mix would boil sooner or later. As it is in Bosnia-Herzegovina, so is it in many other places; governments must conform to adaptive reforms in often changing economies to satisfy the demands and the aspirations of peoples; or overtime, they will witness the likes of events in the Balkans now or the recent riots in Spain. It is only February, what will June and July bring?