Skopje: Opposition leader, MEP address anti-government rally

Tens of thousands of people attended an anti-government protest in Skopje on Sunday held under the motto "Citizens for Macedonia."

Izvor: B92

Monday, 18.05.2015.

12:11

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(Beta/AP)

Skopje: Opposition leader, MEP address anti-government rally

AFP reports that more than 20,000 people marched from the building of the government of Macedonia to the national assembly, while some reports mention a figure of 40,000.

The anti-government rally in Skopje was completed without incident. Activists and supporters of the opposition SDSM party are now camping outside the government and plan to remain there "until Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski resigns."

Several thousand chairs, sleeping bags and tents have been provided for them in the makeshift camp.

SDSM leader Zoran Zaev was the last speaker at the rally last night, when he said that his party did not organize the protest for the sake of coming to power - "but because it seeks freedom in the 21st century." According to him, the protest will continue until Gruevski resigns.
*ALT
"Anything other than his resignation would be a cowardly act after everything that citizens heard during the 33 conferences where the SDSM published compromising intercepted conversations between Gruevski and his closest associates, in the project 'Truth for Macedonia," he said.

"Whether he wants it or not, Gruevski will go," Zaev said.

He also warned the prime minister that "defying the will of citizens of Macedonia can have consequences that no one wants," and called on the European Union "to react with more determination."

The protest was also addressed by representatives of the Social Democrats from the European Parliament and from several European Union countries, who supported the SDSM's demand that Gruevski resigns.

MEP Knut Fleckenstein addressed the rally to say he "did not come with his colleagues to decide on the political situation, because citizens of Macedonia decide on that," but rather "to show solidarity not only with the Social Democratic friends in Macedonia, but also with all those who protests seeking democracy and respect for basic human rights."
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"Condolences to all the victims who were killed or wounded in the criminal act (in Kumanovo), we condemn any act of violence and terrorism. We condemn all forms of violence and are against any attempt to misuse terrorism for partisan politics... Macedonia needs to restore democracy, independent judiciary and independent media and a successful fight against corruption and crime," said the German MEP.

Fleckenstein added that "Macedonia needs determined reform efforts in all areas which will bring it closer to the European Union."

Protesters waved Macedonian, Albanian and Turkish flags, and speakers who addressed the rally seeking the resignation of Nikola Gruevski spoke in Macedonian and Albanian.

Gruevski last night reacted to say he had no intention to resign "because that would be a cowardly act" - and announced "a counter rally" of his ruling VMRO-DPMNE party for Monday.

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