Macedonia suspends police over parliament violence

2017-05-21 15:04
A file photo of the fight between protesters and police in the Skopje parliament. (Dragan Perkovski, AP)

A file photo of the fight between protesters and police in the Skopje parliament. (Dragan Perkovski, AP)

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Skopje - Macedonia's interior ministry on Saturday temporarily suspended 16 police officers for failing to act when nationalist demonstrators, including a group of masked men, stormed parliament.

The violence erupted last month after the demonstrators barged their way into the parliament angry at a vote appointing an ethnic Albanian, Talat Xhaferi, as speaker.

Scores of people were hurt in the bloody melee.

Around a quarter of Macedonia's population of two million are ethnic Albanians, whom nationalists see as a threat to national unity. The landlocked country aspires to join both Nato and the EU.

Video footage of the violence showed that the 16 were "passively watching a mass of citizens trying to enter the assembly and did not... help other police officers", a ministry statement said.

The suspension comes after Macedonia's president on Wednesday asked the long-time opposition Social Democratic party to form a government, five months after an election in the troubled Balkan country.

President Gjorge Ivanov handed the mandate to Social Democratic leader Zoran Zaev, who won the support of a parliamentary majority including ethnic Albanian parties.

Read more on:    gjorge ivanov  |  macedonia

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