About 2,000 protesters gathered in Skopje on April 28 and demanded new elections one day after a band of protesters stormed Macedonia’s parliament and beat up leaders of an emerging new governing coalition. The latest protests, which were peaceful, were staged outside the mission of the European Union, which had expressed support for the new governing coalition formed by Macedonia’s Social Democrats and ethnic Albanian parties. The organizers of the latest rally insisted they have no political affiliation, and said their activism is aimed at preventing the country from sliding deeper into crisis. They marched under the banner “For a joint Macedonia.”
Their sympathies with the conservative VMRO–DPMNE party were evident, however, as they protested against the installation of a new speaker of parliament, Talat Xhaferi, an ethnic Albanian selected by the new governing coalition.
The protesters also carried offensive messages against European diplomats. Macedonia is seeking to join the EU, but EU leaders have warned that the VMRO’s refusal to cede power peacefully poses an obstacle to Skopje’s admission to the bloc.