Hundreds of mostly young ethnic Albanians protested in Skopje on Friday because of the arrests of people suspected of killing five near Lake Smiljkovsko, and several small incidents happened during the protest.
The protesters went from the Yahya Pasha Mosque at around 1:30 p.m. CET, after the prayer had ended, towards the government headquarters. While the crowd was shouting that they did not want framed cases, that Albanians were not just Muslims and that they were not terrorists, a group of protesters turned over dumpsters in the street, while another threw stones at the police and shouted offences against Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and DUI leader Ali Ahmeti.
A nearby bus stop was vandalized and protesters threw shoes at one police vehicle. The protest, according to the participants, was organized to express disapproval with government claims that the suspects for the murders at Lake Smiljkovsko in mid-April were radical Islamists.
The protesters carried Albanian and Turkish flags, as well as a flag of Saudi Arabia. The protest ended at around 3 p.m. CET, when the protesters returned towards the mosque.
The police had arrested 20 radical Islamists as part of the Operation Monstrum, who are all thought connected with the murder of five people near Lake Smiljkovsko. It is presumed that the culprits are among the 20.
According to Interior Minister Gordana Jankulovska's statement at the time, they were suspected of terrorism and, according to information obtained by the police, members of radical Islamist groups, and some of them had been to battlefields in Afghanistan and Pakistan. After the questioning, the police filed charges against five of the arrested, while 2 other suspects are still at large.
Skopje issues warrant for two suspects,releases 10
The Macedonian Interior Ministry issued Thursday a central and international Interpol warrant for two suspects for the recent murder of five men near Skopje, and released 10 persons who were arrested in the Monstrum (Monster) operation.
Criminal charges of terrorism were brought against Alil Demiri (27) and Afrim Ismailovic (32), who are charged with committing the murders together with Agim Ismailovic (33).
After a 48-hour custody during which their alibis were verified, the remaining ten persons arrested in the operation Monstrum were released. According to the Basic Court in Skopje, the Public Prosecutor's Office has not submitted a request for investigation against them.
Four men aged between 18 and 20 were killed in Radisani, near Skopje on April 12. Their bodies were found near an artificial lake, together with the body of a 45-year-old man. They all had gunshot wounds.