By MARJAN ZABRCANEC
An attack on the house of democracy, preventing a peaceful transfer of power, foreign interventions against democratic countries, violence, blood, traumas, party leaders as organizers – these are the similarities between the violent attack on Capitol Hill, the building of the US Congress, on January 6, 2021 and the violent attack on the Macedonian Parliament on April 27, 2017.
The building of the US Congress, Capitol Hill, reopened for tourist visits at the beginning of this year after a period of being closed due to the pandemic from 2020 and precisely two years after the violence caused by Trump supporters who were dissatisfied with the election defeat.
Two years back, after several months of “heating up the atmosphere”, by declaring alleged election fraud, on January 6, 2021, around noon, Trump held a one-hour speech in which he encouraged thousands of angry protestors to march on Capitol Hill. 19 minutes before Trump completed his speech, the protestors had already surrounded the building of the Congress. Trump ended his speech with the following words: “We fight. We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore”.
Similar by a coincidence, or similar with a reason, on February 26, 2017, when Zaev collected 67 signatures from MPs and announced that he would go to Ivanov to request a mandate to form a government, Nikola Gruevski in an interview on Sitel called on “his people” not to sit at home in slippers. Following this interview on Sitel, on February 27, the protests of the initiative “For a common Macedonia” began, which culminated with the violent attack on the Parliament and on MPs on April 27, 2017.
Both in Washington and in Skopje, protestors raised the level of tension hour by hour, up to the moments of probing through the police cordons and forcibly entering through the official entrances. Around 2,000 protestors entered Capitol Hill, around 300 the Macedonian Parliament. Inside it was almost the same – breaking, raging, beating – except that in Washington the violators where not left to attack MPs, congressmen, party leaders and elected officials, unlike the case in Skopje.
Gruevski also did something similar after the attacks on April 27. At a press conference from the White Palace (ironic name for the huge HQ building of Gruevski’s party, VMRO-DPMNE) he said he wanted to condemn the violence individuals had carried out, injuring many MPs. He said he never justified violence and called on the institutions to find the culprits and provide evidence, and then to immediately bring to court those who had inflicted injuries on MPs, citizens and police officers.
Certainly, Gruevski, under the pressure of those he first betrayed, had to change his stance, so already in November 2017 a new, completely opposite statement came out:
“We demand an unconditional stop to all these processes of political persecution conducted by SDSM. We demand immediate release of all persons included in this classical political persecution. These people have done no crime, but loved their homeland and fought against the Tirana Platform, the goal of which is bilingualism and redefining of Macedonia”.
In both cases, democracy won. Biden was confirmed and inaugurated as President of the United States, whereas in Skopje, Gruevski’s regime failed to prevent a democratic change of government, and his regime failed to endure.
In the United States, more than 900 individuals were charged with participation in the attacks on democracy, of which 465 pleaded guilty.
In our country, of the 17 charged with terrorist endangerment of the constitutional order with the attack on the Parliament on April 27, 2017, 16 were found guilty and received multi-year prison sentences. The former Director of the Public Security Bureau, Mitko Cavkov, received the heaviest sentence of 18 years in prison, who in the days before and during the attack on the Parliament was holder of the gold command in the Ministry of Interior.
In both cases, before and after the attacks, disinformation with similar radical-right narratives dominated, which have continually been proven to be organized or instigated by Russian, domestic or third party anti-democratic centers.
Two years after January 6, 2021, the day of the violent attack on Capitol Hill, analysts, media, think tanks, have even more reasons to examine the similarities, differences and connection of the actors involved in the Trump case and the Gruevski case.