Interethnic tensions flare in Macedonia

SKOPJE -- A group of Macedonian children has been beaten up and a Macedonian flag has been burned in the capital of Skopje.

A view of Skopje (Beta/AP)
A view of Skopje (Beta/AP)

Both incidents took place in ethnically mixed neighborhoods of the city.

The Macedonian Interior Ministry has released that a large group of people took down the Macedonian flag and burned it on Saturday afternoon. The police have stated that they will probe the incident.

A few hours later, a group of around 30 people attacked and beat up several Macedonian children.

The police did not comment on the ethnicity of the perpetrators and the victims but media have reported that the attacked children were Macedonian while the attackers were ethnic Albanians.

The tensions are rising ahead of the 100th anniversary of Albania’s independence and Albanian Flag Day that will be marked on Monday.

B92 correspondent says that Skopje and western parts of Macedonia are covered in Albanian flags. According to announcements, Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci will attend the celebration.

During Macedonian PM Nikola Gruevski’s visit to Tirana, Albanians threw eggs and plastic cups at his car and one person torched the Macedonian flag.