Fresh flowers, a symbol of nonviolence as an answer to the terror of industrial polluters. Residents of Zenica, one of the largest towns of Bosnia and Herzegovina, are protesting today against the practices of multinational steel corporation ArcelorMittal. Communities from nine villages surrounding industrial plant gathered at the gate 9, entrance to the steelworks, for a protest symbolically held on June 5 2015, the World Environment Day. Residents decided to express their frustration with the quality of environment, the corporation's violation of legislation, and indifference of the responsible institutions. Bosnian Eko-Forum and Czech Arnika NGOs provided legal assistance to the communities suffering from heavy pollution and will continue to support their fight for justice.

 Photos: Eko-Forum Zenica

ArcelorMittal Steelworks increased production and clouded the sky over Zenica by smoke during the month of May 2015. 
 
Under the supervision of experts from Eko-Forum, the representatives of the communities took to action against the unbearable situation and started organizing a non-violent protest.
 
Three hundred people, citizens together with their community leaders, protested at the gate of ArcelorMittal Zenica in the morning hours of the World Environment Day, June 5 2015. People expressed their discontent with the situation and demanded corrective action.
 
About 300 people came to the improvised platform to hear the speech of the community representatives. Among others demands, the need of organizing a public hearing in the process of environmental permits renewal or more frequent visit of the environmental inspection in the facility were mentioned.
 
The situation with the air pollution was getting unbearable. The citizens claimed they could not open windows because they would be met by unpleasant pungent smell. 
 
Residents decided to express their frustration with the quality of environment, the corporation's violation of legislation, and indifference of the responsible institutions by a symbolic act of bringing a flower to the factory´s gate.
 
Every age cathegory got involved in this act of protest against deteriorating quality of environment, the corporation's violation of legislation, and indifference of the responsible institutions.
 
"Prosecution, wake up, the death toll in Zenica is rising.", declares one of the banners.
 
Communities from nine villages surrounding industrial plant gathered at the gate nine with fresh flowers in the hand.
 
On May 6, there was an incident on the Basic Oxygen Furnace of the Steelworks. This followed a sequence of episodes of benzene in March and April, coming from the exhaust gas of the coke oven. Eko-Forum always warned the public about adverse conditions. 
 
Protest was supported by all generations who together fight for better living conditions for the future. 
 
Banlozi, Donja Gracanica, Donja Vraca, Gradisce, Podbrezje, Ricice, Tetovo, Zmajevac and Pehare. All of these settlements would be pleasant mountain settlements of Zenica, had there not been the factory that directly suffocates them.
 
 
 

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