Year of the river keepers. People have been guarding for 365 days

2.8.2018 - KRUŠČICA
The story of Kruščica had flown across Europe
PHOTO: Andrew Burr

Village in Bosnia and Herzegovina celebrates an anniversary. One year ago, local people stood against an unjustified destruction of nature. On August 2, 2017, the people of Kruščica decided to occupy a bridge over a stream of the same name. This river is threatened by the construction of two dams.

The “River keepers” have so far protected their river from heavy machinery. On its bank, they gradually built a wooden shed in which they assemble. They also bring food and drinks for the guarding neighbours. They did not leave even during the winter months when the outdoor temperatures dropped to a record fifteen degrees below zero.

By the end of August 2017, villagers were attacked by the special police unit in order to clear the driveway to the river for a private construction company. The event, during which dozens of quietly protesting women were harmed, drew an attention of international institutions. This attack made the two-thousand-year-old village famous in the media all over Europe. On that day, people plan to celebrate their success so far.

PHOTOGALLERY: People from Kruščica

Recently, a major breakthrough occurred in the case. In June, the court annulled the environmental permits for both controversial projects because the public was not properly informed. Therefore the citizens did not have the opportunity to comment on the major changes in their nearby environment. The river is irreplaceable for the region; it provides people with drinking water. The river supplies not only Kruščica but also larger cities in the area. In addition, it is used by the farmers, and people enjoy swimming in the lower kilometres of the stream.

Arnika’s team visited Kruščica in June. The coordinator of the Bosnian project, Zuzana Vachůnová, made the following summary video on this occasion.

English subtitles available in the video

 

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