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    Posted February 5, 2014 by
    AhmetovicE
    Location
    Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Breaking news

    Rioters brutally beaten by the police in Bosnia and Hercegovina

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Protests over high unemployment rates in central Bosnia-Herzegovina escalated on Friday when some government buildings were set on fire. AhmetovicE told me about these videos which his mother, a witness to the protests, shot and he edited on Wednesday: 'My mother is unemployed for more than 10 years, and my father is the only working member of the family. I was with my mother while she was filming with her cell phone, since she had been a cameraman on a local TV station. Today, there were no reported injuries on both sides, and many policemen took off their helmets and lowered their shields to protest with the citizens. The citizens were shaking hands, hugging, and kissing the policeman on the cheeks.' CNN cannot confirm his full account of the extent of clashes between police and rioters. An official with the government of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina told CNN, 'The building of the local government (Canton of Sarajevo) was at the centre of protests and several parts of it were also set on fire. The police forces were confronting protesters and there is a number of injured taken to local hospitals. The injured include both protesters and policemen.'
    - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

    Today, February the 5th, after what started as a peaceful protesting against the indifference of the government authorities towards the citizens unemployment, hunger, and dissatisfaction of the way the government spends the money, and the ever growing corruption, everything escalated to officially unbelievable public violence and even greater police brutality ever seen in Bosnia so far.
    The turning point was after the government representatives continuously ignored the crowd and refused to speak to them, after what the crowd started throwing rocks at the windows.
    Up to that point the building was secured by no more than a dozen of regular policeman, but from that moment on ever more were assigned to the location.
    The increase of officers angered the crowd even more, so they decided to storm the building, and force the authorities to hear them out.
    The crowd managed to push the police just to the inner doorway, and the initial leader of the crowd read the demands to the officers in the building lobby.
    While a local TV cameraman was filming the event standing behind the officers, one officer turned around noticing him, and hit him what appeared to the head, pushing his camera out of the view and forcing him to turn it off.
    The cameraman left the building trough the back door lightly beaten and bruised shortly after the crowd was pushed out.
    Little was known that even worse things will happen.
    The gathered crowd became even more furious after finding out that the reporter was beaten by the police for no apparent reason, so they piled up tires and a dumpster to the square and set them on fire.
    Shortly after the members of the special police came to the scene, and an even greater number of regular police forces accumulated, reaching nearly 500 in number.
    The official aftermath by the police sources is one injured reporter, one injured policeman and 27 arrests. Some time later the public will find out that some of those arrested were minors. At the same time the municipal hospital reported that the ER received 23 injured civilians and 2 lightly injured policeman.
    Important to note is that a high school student was severely injured and is being held at intensive care, after members of the special police caught him while he was on his way home from a nearby school. So far, reportedly the police had crushed his thorax, damaging his lungs and severely injuring his head after they had thrown him to the ground and had beaten him while tying his hands during arrest.


    The first video shows a squad of the special police unit approaching from the south towards the crowd at the square.
    At 4:10 the special police unit commanding officer is addressing the crowd “Citizens, the commander of the police unit for support is talking. It has been noted that public order and peace have been disrupted. It is in the interest of your personal safety to disperse. We will use force.”
    At that moment the crowd began yelling and swearing at him, and he stops for a moment to consult with a colleague.
    In the background someone asked where to disperse, and a voice of an elderly woman can be heard saying “Here, nowhere else. Die here if they want us to. We can not move back” , and an elderly male voice asking “Is there any government in here”.
    The commander speaks again “Last warning! Disperse, we will use force”.
    At that moment the regular police with riot shields formed a buffer wall.
    At 5:58 a male, probably in mid twenties speaks to the police “If you go hit me first. I-m all sick anyway. I do not have a right for medical care. The hospital will not take me in. Here you hit me first. Go on now. I'm standing here. I go to the soup kitchen. So far they gave me 50KM to eat per month, now this time, they did not. I walk up there every day. Here you hit me first.”
    Shortly after the crowd began sitting down on the pavement to demonstrate they will not move one step back, despite the open threat of forced removal.
    Shortly after the special police began dispersing the crowd. A male voice can be heard saying “How can you, please”.
    The first being dragged to arrest can be seen at 8:30, as they are taken behind the building where no journalists were allowed, and the parking lot was secured by regular police. This is where all of the brutal beatings were reported to have happened, and there are a lot of witness that some younger males were wailing and calling for help from the parking lot.
    A successful escape of a student can be seen on 8:46, and several female voices can be heard yelling to let him go.
    Afterwards the video shows some of the men being thrown to the ground and being tied up.
    At 11:00 a young male is being dragged by the police to be taken in, and a woman is asking why are they arresting him, as he just stood peacefully next to her, and she asks the same again as she looks up the government building.
    Shortly after a minor can be seen thrown to the ground holding a tissue up his bleeding nose and a female voice asking what are they doing to them.
    Sometime as the police was taking in those arrested here being beaten, bruised and bloody, sadly unseen on this video, the medical staff of the municipal health center from the white building in the background stated that the officers did not allow the staff to take care of those injured, and did not allow the staff to come near those arrested.
    Even the police dogs can be seen used to keep the crowd away from the ones arrested so far.
    At 12:45 a special police member is trying to get the camera away from the scene saying he’s the authority, after what a female voice protests saying “It’s that kind of authority that makes us rebel sir. It’s that kind of authority that thinks they have the b**s to f**k even God. What-s wrong with you, who sent you here”.
    The second video shows the one and only time the police let an ER vehicle get trough to the square. The matter was an elderly woman which had fallen unconscious after 3 regular policeman tried to pick her up from the pavement. The woman was holding her paper confirmation that she’s a civilian victim from the previous war.
    Two younger males were the only ones who came to aid the woman and lay her to the side. The policeman had already abandoned her, and not a single member of the special police, out of which some had been seen wearing orange first aid backpacks, had come to offer any kind of help. A civilian came trough with a car to rush her to the hospital, but the ER vehicle came shortly after.


    The third video begins with several police squads deployed, after successfully overtaking the square. The police continued to push the crowd away from the building.
    Shortly after a squad of special police is seen moving towards the center after “escorting” the ER and the civilian vehicle. The special police squad soon continues towards the crowd.
    A woman is seen yelling at the police “Shoot at your ministers. What do they and their children have. They have summer homes, houses. They have everything and we have nothing. We’re fighting for our lives here”
    At 3:40 another arrest can be seen, as a man was too slow to dash the special police squad pushing to the crowd.


    The first image shows a special police squad approaching the government building from the south and west.

    The second image shows a special police squad going behind the building where the brutal beatings of the rioters took place.

    On the third image the burning dumpster and a pile of tires set on fire can be seen in the middle of the square.

    The fourth image shows regular police reinforcing the north side of the square in front of the building. This is the side that had most of the regular police to push the citizens towards the directions out of which the special police came trying to encircle the crowd to arrest as many rioters as possible.

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