Macedonia: Opposition stages new protests

SKOPJE -- The Macedonian opposition has once again taken to the streets across the country in protest against what they say are undemocratic actions of the government.

A protest in Skopje, held on Dec. 29 (Beta/AP)
A protest in Skopje, held on Dec. 29 (Beta/AP)

After the incident in the Macedonian parliament which took place on December 24, when opposition MPs tried to block the debate on this year's budget and were then expelled from the hall, the next day the opposition started organizing daily blockades of main roads in many towns.

The half-hour protests were organized under the slogan, "Resistance", and saw participation from politicians, representatives of NGOs and citizens.

After the parliament incident, leader of the largest opposition party SDSM Branko Crvenkovski announced that they would participate in local elections scheduled for March only if electoral rolls were revised, and if elections were held according to the standards of the OSCE/ODIHR.

More recently, it was also heard that the opposition would likely boycott the voting unless it was carried out by an interim government.

Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanovski on Thursday announced, after consulting with representatives of the political parties, that he decided that MPs taking part in the boycott would receive a third of their salary, as mandated by the law.

The SDSM responded by saying that Veljanovski had lost his legitimacy and credibility to call on legislation in the wake of the Dec. 24 incidents.