Bosnia is counting the cost of anti-government protests that left nearly 200 people injured and part of the national archive destroyed.

Friday's unrest — blamed on the Balkan nation's high unemployment rate and rampant corruption — was the most serious since the end of the Bosnian war two decades ago.

Bosnia Protest

Tear gas fills the street at the scene of an anti-government protest in Sarajevo. (Sulejman Omerbasic/Associated Press)

The unemployment rate stands at more than 40 per cent in Bosnia, where one in five people live below the poverty line.

Protesters set light to the presidential building in Sarajevo on Friday, starting a fire which destroyed documents dating back to the First World War.

Firefighters spent the night dousing the flames, which almost gutted one regional government building, consuming cars and newsstands nearby.

Police had used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the protesters in the capital.

In Tuzla, the head of the local government resigned after thousands of people took to the streets.

There were also violent protests in the southern town of Mostar, the central town of Zenica and north-western Bihac. In Mostar, protesters stormed the local government building, throwing furniture and files from windows, before setting it on fire.  

With files from The Associated Press