ISSN 2330-717X

Macedonians March Against Ethnic Violence


By Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Thousands joined a “March for Peace” in Skopje on Saturday against the spate of ethnically violent incidents between Macedonians and Albanians that happened earlier this month.

Protestors, including celebrities, intellectuals, NGO activists and the country’s head of state, called for an end to the incidents that have posed a challenge to the country’s fragile ethnic peace.

President Gjorge Ivanov was one of only a few politicians that joined the event.

The event started in Skopje’s main park, with performances by musicians from all ethnicities and the atmosphere set by the sounds of John Lennon’s famous peace song “Imagine” and Bob Marley’s “One Love”.

People carried the slogan “Together for Peace” written in Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, Serbian, Roma, Vlach and other languages used in the country.

After, they paraded through city streets, passing the government building and the landmark Stone Bridge before returning to the park where the music continued.

“We simply want to live together, through mutual respect and understanding,” Petrit Saracini, a local musician and NGO activist, said.

From the beginning of March Macedonia has experienced the worst outbreak of inter-ethnic gang violence since the Balkan country narrowly avoided civil war in 2001.

Gangs of mainly young people attacked people in commuter buses and on the streets in capital and in other towns, leaving at least 15 injured. Police have apprehended about 30 suspects. No major incidents have been reported in the last few days.

However, the Macedonian embassy in Pristina, in Kosovo, was the target of a Molotov cocktail on Friday night. Kosovo authorities condemned the incident.

In 2001, Macedonia suffered a short-lived armed conflict between ethnic Albanian rebels and the security forces. The conflict ended that year with the signing of the Ohrid Peace Agreement, an internationally brokered accord guaranteeing greater rights to the Albanians who make up about a quarter of the population of 2.1 million.

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The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

2 thoughts on “Macedonians March Against Ethnic Violence

  • March 19, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    EU,take notice,the Macedonian citizens will not allow huligans to take over peacefull Macedonians.
    These unfortunate incidents were imports from outside.It is not the first time outsiders medling in Macedonia.Remember,former FM of Greece Samaras distributed 130 million dollars in black garbage bags to the newsmedia and politicians to carry on propaganda againts the Republic of Macedonia,as well as againts the Macedonian minority in Greece.
    EU should condemn these outside interfirances,not the Macedonian government who are doing their best to keep the society civil.
    As for Kosovo,they should be reminded the help Macedonia gave them durring their plight durring Milosevic reign.

  • March 25, 2012 at 12:45 am

    If we listen to people like Peter then we can be assured that the Yugoslavs of FYROM have greater rights than the Albanians. These Yugoslavs like Peter who peddle monolithic jingoism in FYROM are said to be themselves a mix of Bulgarians, Greeks, Turks, Albanians, and Roma Gypsies. So why does a Yugoslav Like Peter have more rights than other non-Bulgarian speakers of FYROM, like the Albanians, Greeks, Turks, Romas, and Vlachs who live there.

    No Peter, you and your so called garbage bag politics is the misery that everyone in FYROM including your Yugoslavs compatriots are struggling.

    So no, we in the EU don’t need to clean up after your fascist style politics.


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