Saturday, May 05, 2012

10 000 Ethnic Albanians Rise against Macedonian Govt over Lakeside Murders

More than 10 000 ethnic Albanians protested in Macedonia's capital Skopje on Friday to demand a fair trial for five people suspected of murder in a case that has raised ethnic tension in the tiny country.

The five detainees have been charged with offenses related to terrorism and radical Islamism over the murder of five Macedonian fishermen near Skopje last month. Two of the suspects remain at large.

Protesters at Friday's rally in the capital Skopje chanted "Allah is Great" and "Albanians are Muslims, not terrorists." Youths threw rocks at police, but no injuries or arrests were reported, according to the BGNES news agency.

Some of the chants targeted Macedonia's Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, "Gruevski Is Terrorist", while others mentioned the Kosovo Liberation Army that fought an uprising against Serbia in 1998-99 in the ethnic Albanian province that is now an independent republic.

The Macedonian police on Tuesday 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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