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Thousands of workers protest in Sarajevo

Thousands of workers protest in Sarajevo Thousands of workers protest in Sarajevo
Several thousand workers protested Thursday in Sarajevo against the government's economic policies, demanding their back pay, in the country plagued with years of political crisis and an unemployment rate of 40 percent, AFP reports.
"We have woken up Sarajevo and we are going to wake up all other cities. Political officials should wake up too," a union leader Ismet Bajramovic told the crowd. "There is no more time. Work or leave!" he said as marching protesters stopped briefly before Bosnia's main government and parliament building. According to unions, some 50,000 Bosnian workers have been affected by the non-payment of social or health security contributions by their employers, both in the public and private sector. Passing by the presidency building, the protesters, some 5,000 according to organisers, chanted "Thieves! Get out!" Carrying placards "Stop the corruption" and "Who will feed my children?", the workers marched throughout the Bosnian capital for some two hours despite a heavy rain. "We have not received a salary for 10 months and it has been like this for 10 years. We are hungry because even when we receive a salary from time to time it is not worth that name," said Ediba Hamamdzic, a factory worker for 22 years, victim of a failed privatisation, like many others in the country. "It has been a long time since they paid us social security or pensions due. We cannot get medical treatment, neither can our children," she said. Bosnia's economy contracted 0.5 percent in 2012, but the Balkan country was expected to get out of recession in 2013, according to a central bank forecast.