UNREST Macedonia: Protests intensify
Thousands of people took the streets in the pro-democracy protests in the Macedonian capital of Skopje and other five cities across the country today. Over 5,000 people in Skopje and over a thousand people in Bitola, Veles, Kumanovo, Kochani and Prilep protested again today, demanding resignation of the President Ivanov and of the government.
The pro-government Movement for Defense of Macedonia organized counter-protests in the cities of Veles, Prilep, Bitola and Kochani. The turnout for the counter-protests is shrinking every day, despite pressure and intimidation of the employees of the administration, which is notorious for the strong control of the ruling parties.
The police has detained three journalists from Kosovo, and has released them after three hours of interrogation. CIVIL’s representative took a statement from one of the detainees after the release. The journalist Ilir Ajdini, otherwise a Macedonian citizen, reported that no physical ill-treatment took place, but that the interrogation was thorough and intimidating.
Other incidents were not registered.
Freedom March (camera: Nikola Ugrinovski, edited by Ermin Klimenta)
Following the information that negotiations to overcome political crisis will continue in Vienna on Friday, CIVIL has issued a public statement, demanding “negotiations in the interest of the citizens, and not for the salvation of discredited politicians and those suspected of crime” and involvement of more political parties and representatives of civil society, organizations, movements and initiatives, in order to have a more direct representation of the interests of the citizens of Republic of Macedonia.
The wave of protests entered the second week after the Macedonian President Ivanov’s decision, on April 12, to pardon over fifty persons who face criminal investigation and criminal charges for corruption, abuse of power and electoral theft, including highest government representatives.
Every day at 6 pm local time, thousands of protesters in Skopje first gather at the Special Public Prosecutor’s office to express their support to this institution that has the mandate to investigate high profile cases of corruption, abuse of power and electoral fraud by highest government officials and their associates.