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The closure of factories and firms has sparked clashes in Bosnia, as economic and social woes deepen almost 20 years since the end of its war.

Protesters tried to storm local government offices in Tuzla in the north, claiming authorities have stood by idly as several state firms collapsed after privatisation.

“Elections will change nothing and only actions like this, and I’m afraid, even more radical actions, can force our politicians to step down,” said one protester.

Police drove demonstrators back and cordoned off the building.

Football fans are said to have joined in, as stones were thrown and tyres set on fire. At least 20 people were injured and over 20 arrests made.

Tuzla is the third largest city in the former Yugoslav republic and the industrial heart of the north. But many of its once thriving chemical factories halted production after being privatised, leaving hundreds of workers without jobs.

With unemployment sky-high and tension building, one of the hundreds of protesters in the city said: “This is the start of the Bosnian Spring.”

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