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Protesting War Veterans Block Roads In Bosnia

Bosnian veterans block the Doboj-Sarajevo road on February 28.
Bosnian veterans block the Doboj-Sarajevo road on February 28.

War veterans have blocked roads in various parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina to demand additional benefits.

Reports said the veterans of Bosnia's 1992-95 war peacefully ended their last blockades in the country’s Muslim-Croat Federation on the morning of March 1.

The protest that began on February 28 had left thousands of people trapped in their vehicles in freezing temperatures.

Since the end of the war, Bosnia has consisted of two separate entities -- the Muslim-Croat Federation and the ethnic Serb-dominated Republika Srpska. Each has its own government and the two are linked by weak central institutions.

The demobilized fighters from the former Bosnian Army and Croatian Defense Council had blocked roads in Tuzla, Zenica and Doboj, as well as the main road from Sarajevo to Konjic.

The protesting veterans called on lawmakers to respond to their demands for 326 Bosnian marks ($203) per month in benefits for unemployed veterans and for every former soldier to get at least two Bosnian marks ($1.2) for each month they served during wartime.

They are also calling for a single, unified register of those who fought in the war.

The prime minister of the Muslim-Croat Federation, Fadil Novalic, told a press conference that the federation cannot afford the additional benefits the veterans are calling for.

Novalic also said that the government was ready to negotiate, warning the protesters that creating chaos won’t bring any solution.

With reporting by AP and Balkan Insight

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