Thousands Protest against Macedonia's Govt as 'Reform Deadline' Expires

World » SOUTHEAST EUROPE | June 21, 2016, Tuesday // 08:30
Bulgaria: Thousands Protest against Macedonia's Govt as 'Reform Deadline' Expires A protester drops a barrel of paint onto the facade front of the Ministry of Justice Building, during an anti-government protest dubbed the `Colorful Revolution`, in Skopje, Macedonia, June 20, 2016. EPA/BGNES

Thousands of Macedonians took to the streets of the capital Skopje on Monday as a deadline protesters had set for the government to react to the current political crisis expired.

The demonstration, called "The Colorful Revolution" after the name given to recent public outcry against President Gjorge Ivanov's decision to grant amnesty in a controversial wiretapping affair, brought together up to 20 000 protesters, according to Reuters estimates.

Balloons and plastic bags full of paint were thrown at institutions and sculptures in downtown Skopje. Telma TV showed footage of protesters trying to topple a monument to Prometheus.

Demonstrations were venting their anger at what they consider to be their government's failure to address the political crisis into which Macedonia plunged late in 2014.

Some of the demands include the holding of fair elections in the country. The previously scheduled vote, an early poll that was to take place on June 05, was postponed amid political tensions and a boycott from all major parties but the main ruling VMRO-DPMNE.

Demonstrators are also calling for deeper reform and guarantees that the so-called Special Prosecutor's Office will not be dismantled.

The latest wave of tensions began in April, when President Ivanov announced he was granting a blanket amnesty on all 56 people involved in the massive wiretapping affair that rocked the country late in 2014 and early in 2015. He later revoked the pardon, amid criticism from both the public and Western envoys.

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Tags: macedonia, protest, Gjorge Ivanov, Colorful Revolution, amnesty, wiretapping, elections

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