Thousands in Anti-Government Protests in Macedonia

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Several thousand citizens protested tonight in front of the government building in Skoplje, Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia. At least five persons, among them police officers have been injured in the violence. Demonstrators are requesting resignation of the government.

Macedonian opposition party Social-democratic Alliance (SDSM) has been publishing wire tapped material since mid February, exposing corruption in the ruling party of an interestingly long name – Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE, or shorter VMRO).

Today’s protests erupted after the SDSM exposed a tapped conversation between high government officials regarding the death of a 22 year old Martin Nešovski who has been beaten to death by a police officer in 2011 during public celebration of election win for VMRO.

The phone recording of a conversation between Minister of police Gordana Jankulovska and Prime minister Nikola Gruevski, confirms that the chief of prime ministers security hired the off duty police officer that has beaten Nešovski to death. Also, Jankulovska confirms in recording that Nešovski did not resist arrest.

Violence erupted after a group of demonstrators tried to storm the building that was blockaded by police. Madeconian TV A1 reports that Nešovski’s brother Aleksandar was in that group.

Protesters have thrown eggs, bottles and other objects on the government building chanting “murderers, murderers!”. Riot police used water cannons, smoke bombs and baton charges on people. Around 22 PM, Central European Time, police had dispersed protesters who have remained in small groups around the streets of Skoplje. At least 20 demonstrators have been arrested, local media reports.

Protesters have called for the police to join them, and Al Jazeera Balkans reports that at least several of the police officers, that were in the cordon protecting the government building, have left their post and joined the demonstrators.

Meanwhile, leaders of the opposition and former director of Macedonian Agency for Security and counter intelligence have been indicted for illegal wire tapping of phones of government officials.

Civil.org reports:

Police used force on protesters, including those sitting and peacefully protesting. Many protesters were severely beaten up, including elderlies and women, as well as journalists.

Dozens were arrested and still being held in police stations in different parts of the city.

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About Author

Agan Uzunović is a journalist from Bosnia and Herzegovina writing for Revolution News and Bosnian media. Follow him on Twitter @AganU8.