feature 02 Jun 16

How ‘I Protest’ Took Flight in Macedonia

One month after President Ivanov’s pardons sparked mass protests, BIRN looks at how the ‘Protestiram’ movement has organised and developed in Macedonia.

Aidan Phillips
BIRN
Skopje
Photo: BIRN/Aidan Phillips.

For nearly two months, the campaigning movement Protestiram - I protest - has been organising marches across Macedonia.

Although the movement has spread to at least 19 towns, the largest and most frequent rallies are in Skopje, where they are held almost nightly.

The protests were sparked by President Gjorge Ivanov’s decision to pardon all politicians undergoing criminal investigations.

This move undermined the special prosecutor’s work of investigating allegations of political corruption and other wrongdoings as part of the wiretapping scandal.

That story broke last February when the Social Democrat opposition, SDSM, claimed that then Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and the now ex-secret police chief, Saso Mijalkov, had wiretapped about 20,000 people. They submitted evidence of these recordings over the next four months.

Following release of recordings which suggested an official cover-up over of the circumstances of the death of ruling party member Martin Neskovski in June 2011, mass protests began on May 5, 2015.

On May 10, various movements and initiatives involved in these bonded together to create Protestiram.

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