Macedonia Church Set on Fire over Religious Tensions

World | January 31, 2012, Tuesday // 19:46

A church was set ablaze in the Macedonian village of Labuniste, presumably as a result of the tensions between the local Slavic and Albanian populations.

The incident followed the burning of a Macedonian flag in the nearby town of Struga by Albanians and the raising of Albanian and Islamist flags, in reaction to a local carnival in the previous week in which Islam was mocked, DPA reminds.

The situation in the area was reported as tense and people were said to be frightened.

The ethnically mixed town of Struga lies directly on the de facto line of separation between the Slavic and Albanian Macedonian population.

Macedonia came to the verge of a civil war in 2001, when Albanians - who make up between one-quarter and one-third of the population - rebelled, demanding more rights.

Currently, the Balkan country is governed by a coalition between the conservative Slavic Macedonian VMRO-DPMNE party and the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration.

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Tags: macedonia, FYROM, church, slavic, Albanian, tensions
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