Two Injured in New Macedonia Opposition Protests
A photoreporter and a police officer have been injured in Wednesday's protests in Macedonian capital Skopje as demonstrators gathered for a second night to demand that the government stepped down.
Wednesday's gathering in front of the Macedonian Parliament was more peaceful that the previous one, which on Tuesday evening left dozens wounded.
Different media outlets cited varying numbers of protesters in Skopje and elsewhere, with estimates ranging between hundreds and a few thousand.
There were demonstrations in Bitola and Prilep, Macedonia's second-largest and fourth-largest city respectively, Macedonian daily Utrinski vesnik reports.
The wave of unrest erupted after the country's main opposition party SDSM and its leader Zoran Zaev accused PM Nikola Gruevski and other officials of attempting to conceal their involvement in the death of a young man killed by a police officer.
Zaev earlier unveiled audio recordings purporting to be "evidence" of wrongdoing on behalf of both Gruevski and Interior Minister Gordana Jankuloska, alongside other officials.
The opposition has now accused the government of ordering the use of excessive police force to crack down on protesters on Tuesday.
Meanwhile the EU COmmission has also intervened, with enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn voicing his concern with the developments.
"It is not acceptable for us anymore that there is a situation in which the opposition is not in Parliament," Utrinski quoted him as saying.
Hahn called on authorities to both set up a Parliament committee and launch a new investigation into the young man's death, where Gruevski constistently denies any involvement.
The ruling party VMRO-DPMNE also maintains that protests are being politically organized and are not an expression of civic indignation.
In Hahn's words, the government response to the protests was inadequate and was "harmful" to democracy.
Other reactions were not late, with social media reposting a Tweet by Simone Filippini's the former ambassador of the Netherlands to Skopje.
Gruevski's government, however, says its response to protests was absolutely legitimate and rejects calls by the opposition and some foreign diplomats for a transitional government involving Zaev's SDSM.
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