Protesters and police clash in Macedonian capital
At least 19 people have been injured, among them 15 policemen and one photographer, in the clashes between the police and protesters in Skopje, AFP reported.Source: B92, RTS, Tanjug
The police used tear gas and water canons to disperse a crowd of several thousand people who for several hours protested in front of the Macedonian government headquarters after the leader of the most influential opposition party, the SDSM, announced that nearly four years ago, "Martin Neshkovski was killed by an on duty police officer."
Zoran Zaev, who last week announced protests that would last until the government resigned, said the authorities "covered up the whole truth" about the death, and presented recorded conversations between officials as proof of this claim.
Neshkovski died during a rally organized by the VMRO DPMNE party to celebrate election victory. A member of the special police, Igor Spasov, was found guilty and sentenced to 14 years in prison for the death - but he was put on trial as a civilian. According to the audio footage presented by Zaev, Spasov was that night "called to duty orally by Dejan Mitrovski, then chief of personal security of Macedonian PM and VMRO DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski."
Zaev announced this during a news conference on Tuesday as one in a series of revelations referred to as "bombs" - a part of the "Truth about Macedonia" project, which deals with the authorities' alleged unlawful wiretapping.
Shortly after Zaev's announcement, demonstrators started gathering in front of the government "spontaneously, using social networks", and shouting "killers, killers," demanding the resignation of Gruevski and Interior Minister Gordana Jankulovska. They also threw eggs, rocks, broke windows on the government building, demolished several police cars and set dumpsters on fire.
At least four persons were detained by the police, the local TV Nova reported, and added that journalist Zoran Ivanov was lightly injured after the police "beat him."
During the protest, Jankulovska said that the footage presented by Zaev was "cut and edited," to which demonstrated reacted by clashing with the police and breaking through a cordon set up in front of the government HQ.
Pro-government media claim that the violence was caused by demonstrators who acted according to "SDSM's planned scenario."
Meanwhile, "non-governmental media" claim that the protest was peaceful and nonviolent until the police started to "brutally push demonstrators back to nearby streets, after receiving reinforcements."
After the violence broke out Zaev posted a message on Facebook calling for calm and "peaceful and dignified" protests.
The situation in Skopje was calm on Wednesday morning, but new protests have been called for this evening.