Bosnia presidency arranges 'official tour' of pavement

  • 24 November 2016
Journalists and cameramen standing on the pavement Image copyright Federalna TV
Image caption To a casual observer, the space doesn't seem to merit extensive attention - it now has stone cobbles rather than asphalt, and electronic bollards

A pavement has become the unlikely subject of media attention in Sarajevo after officials invited journalists on a "tour" of a newly repaved section outside the presidency building.

A press release from the Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency told journalists to arrive at 11:45 for security checks in time for their midday tour, the Federalna website reports. It said four government officials would be on hand to show them around the pavement, including the deputy chief secretary of the presidency.

A comical tone spread through some of the media coverage - Radio Sarajevo dubbed the pavement tour "the event of the year" and broadcast it live on Facebook "for all of you who are unable to attend".

On the day, only one official showed up - local municipality head Nedzad Ajnadzic. He told reporters that the grand opening was actually meant to highlight improved access for disabled people across the city, but when asked why that wasn't mentioned in the press release, he simply said he had not issued the invitations.

It has all provided rich pickings for Bosnians online. "I would love to meet the master of media relations who thought it was a good idea to invite journalists to the pavement opening," one Twitter user wrote. Another called it Bosnia's "walk of shame", while some suggested this was the government's greatest achievement.

Protesters at the opening waved placards denouncing the expense, which Bosnian media say was more than 360,000 convertible marks ($194,000; £156,000). One sign read: "Long live the presidential pavement! Theft of hospitals, schools, buildings and water!"

Passer-by Damir Niksic told Federalna that he's glad the months of construction work are finally over so people can get past more easily, but he also struck a philosophical note: "As for where we are going, and if we have anywhere to arrive at, I'm not so sure."

While the arguments and the jokes keep coming, members of a local dance club decided to make the most of the space, twirling their way across the new pavement in front of the evening traffic.

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