Citizens of Kruščica keep on fighting!
At dawn on August 24th, Special Police forcefully dispersed demonstrators, mostly women, and some people were seriously injured. Local citizens were not deterred, and the protests gained momentum and regional support throughout September. The next protest was organized on September 9th, under the slogan “No to robbery, we won’t give up our rivers”. During this protest members of the Coalition for the Protection of the Rivers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, journalists, representatives of the Parliament, representatives of WWF Adria and other interested associations showed up to support the protesting citizens.
Just a few days later, on September 12, the investor announced that they would begin transporting the equipment and materials needed to build the hydropower plant. Citizens of Kruščica gathered on a bridge to prevent the movement of the equipment, and again the Special Police were called. Fearing that the police might again resort to violence, citizens alerted the OSCE Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Travnik and the LOT Brigade of international peacekeeping forces. Both organizations sent support to the site, and their arrival prevented any further police action. Two weeks later on September 24th, Kruščica citizens organized another protest in front of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Parliament building in Sarajevo.
As a result of the persistent and peaceful actions of citizens, there is increasing government attention to resolve the issue and ensure that construction, if any, would be fully compliant with all applicable legislation. As a first step, a representative from the Kruščica community was invited to a session of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Parliamentary Security Commission. After the two-hour session, the Commission adopted a decision by which the Municipality, the Prosecutor's Office, the Cantonal Ministry of Interior Affairs and the Police Commissioner are required to provide them with all relevant documentation about the planned hydropower plant. In addition, the Commission will send a request to the investor to suspend all work on the site for one month until all documentation and facts are examined.