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News 28 Nov 17

Macedonia Arrests Ex-Police Chief, MPs for Parliament Unrest

Police arrested former police chief Mitko Cavkov and several MPs from the former ruling VMRO DPMNE party over the April 27 violence in Macedonia's parliament, which injured some 100 people.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje
Macedonia's current Prime Minister Zoran Zaev [centre] was hurt during the April 27 unrest. Photo: Anadolu

Police on Tuesday morning detained Cavkov, the former head of the uniformed police, and several VMRO DPMNE MPs over the storming of parliament in April.

They are being charged by the Organised Crime Prosecution with serious crimes against the state.

“After consideration and analysis of the gathered evidence, the public prosecution in charge of organised crime and corruption ordered an investigation into 36 people,” the prosecution said in a press statement.

The prosecution said that they are suspected of “terrorist endangerment of the constitutional order and security, according to article 313 of the Criminal Law”.

Those arrested are being taken to Skopje Criminal Court where a judge will decide whether they should be remanded in custody.

Media reports suggest that at least 30 more people were detained on Tuesday morning, including MPs Krsto Mukoski, Zaklina Stefanovska and Ljuben Arnaudov, all from the right-wing former ruling VMRO DPMNE party.

According to unconfirmed reports, among those detained are other participants and protest organizers who were involved in the storming of parliament in April, including the former head of the Macedonian Opera Igor Durlovski, actor Vlado Jovanovski, and the leader of a right-wing ‘patriotic’ organisation from the town of Veles, Goran Agelov, alias Kjoseto.

Media reported that several of the 36 suspects are still at large as police continue their search. The Interior Ministry said it will announce more details about the arrests later on Tuesday.

The attack on parliament began when VMRO DPMNE supporters stormed the building only minutes after the new majority in parliament had elected Talat Xaferi as its new speaker, paving the way for the election of the new Social Democrat-led government, which eventually took office in May.

The violent mob injured some 100 people including ten MPs from the new majority. The Social Democrats’ leader, current Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, was among the injured.

Cavkov, who was in charge of the police's command centre, was accused by the former provisional Interior Minister of being unreachable much of that night, when he should have sent police reinforcements.

He has previously denied any responsibility for the incident.

Some MPs, including Mukoski, were seen on parliament video security footage, opening the legislature’s main door and seemingly giving instructions to the mob where to go.

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