news 21 May 14

Second Day of Ethnic Riots Hits Macedonian Capital

Police arrest dozens after another day of trouble sparked by the killing of a young Macedonian in a suburb of the capital.

Saska Cvetkovska
Photo by Robert Atanasovski

Dozens of people were arrested and several police officers were injured on Tuesday in a second day of ethnic clashes in the Skopje suburb of Gjorce Petrov connected to Monday’s killing of a young man by an ethnic Albanian robber.

The disturbances on Tuesday started when youngsters marched down the main street to the home of the murder victim to light candles. The group then moved towards the mainly ethnic Albanian suburb of Saraj, clashing with police who intervened to prevent clashes with Albanians in the neighbourhood.

OSCE Calls For Calm

“We are monitoring these developments with increasing concerns”, said the Head of Mission, Ambassador Ralf Breth. “We understand the authorities are investigating this crime, therefore it is crucial to let the investigative and judicial process take its course.”

Solidarity with the family of the victim should prevail over violent protests and the regrettable damage to property, stressed Ambassador Breth. “In the recent past the citizens of this country have demonstrated their ability to come together in times of suffering. We appeal to everyone to live up to these values. There should be no collective responsibility by any community for the acts of one individual.”

Protesters threw stones at the police, smashed shop windows and set on fire garbage containers that they were using as barricades. The protesters were armed with wooden and metal bats. According to police, several police vehicles were damaged.

“The riots passed without major damage and the police managed to establish order in Gorce Petrov,” a police spokesman, Ivo Kotevski, said.

Police reportedly told three reporters to delete their recordings of the events and then erased the recordings themselves. The clashes ended around 11 pm. The streets in Gjorce Petrov remained closed for traffic overnight under heavy police presence.

The trouble started on Monday after the suspect for the murder of the 18-year-old man was arrested and was reported to be an ethnic Albanian. The victim, known as Angel P, was stabbed to death on Monday afternoon after he caught up with the man who had stolen his bicycle. Police detained the suspect, named as Naser E, soon after.

Ethnic Albanians make up a quarter of Macedonia’s population of about 2.1 million and have a history of tense relations with the Macedonian majority. In 2001, the country experienced a brief armed conflict between security forces and Albanian insurgents, which ended with the signing of a peace deal in Ohrid that granted Albanians more rights.

Photo by Robert Atanasovski
Photo by Robert Atanasovski
Photo by Robert Atanasovski
Photo by Robert Atanasovski

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