Macedonia Braces for Mass Albanian Protests

World | May 11, 2012, Friday // 12:24
Bulgaria: Macedonia Braces for Mass Albanian Protests A large group of people staged a protest on Friday 4 May, 2012 in Skopje; the ethnic Albanian youth protested the police claim that the perpetrators of the five murders near Smilkovci Lake are Islamic terrorists. EPA/BGNES

Massive protests are expected to take place in Macedonia on Friday, as ethnic Albanians in the country are concerned with the police operation that followed last month's brutal murder of five men.

The protesters believe the Macedonian authorities have deliberately arrested only ethnic Albanians for the murders.

Demonstrations are to take place in Skopje, Gostivar, Tetovo, Kichevo, Debar and Struga, and will be held just after the traditional Friday prayer, New Europe says.

None of the protests being planned for Friday were officially declared, but the police was to take all necessary measures to ensure peace and security in the country, according to Macedonia's Deputy Secretary to the Ministry of Interior, Ivo Kotevski.

Albania's ruling Democratic Union for Integration has called upon protesters to express their opinion in a peaceful and democratic way, while Menduh Thaci, leader of the oppositional Democratic Party of Albanians, has urged ethnic Albanians in Macedonia not to participate in the protests, according to Macedonian media.

The Macedonian police recently arrested 20 ethnic Albanians in an operation in several villages around the capital in relation to the murder of five men near Skopje on April 12. The court later ordered 30 days' detention for nine of the arrested.

The bodies of Filip Slavkovski, Aleksandar Nakjevski, Cvetanco Acevski and Kire Trickovski, all aged between 18 and 20, were discovered on April 12 near Zelezarsko Ezero on the northern outskirts of the capital Skopje. The body of 45-year-old Borce Stevkovski was also found nearby.

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Tags: macedonia, FYROM, ethnic Albanians, Skopje, protest rally, protest, Nikola Gruevski, Macedonian PM, Smilkovci, Albania
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