According to the French Press, tens of thousands of supporters of the nationalist opposition in northern Macedonia staged anti-government protests in Skopje on Saturday, demanding early parliamentary elections. The protests come amid fears in the West that Russia could use the tensions in the Balkans to destabilize the region.
Gathered at the behest of the main opposition VMRO-DPMNE (Nationalist Right), protesters waved Macedonian flags and placards with slogans hostile to the SDSM-dominated government (left).
The VMRO-DPMNE government has been seeking practically early elections since resolving a dispute with Greece in 2018, which has prevented the country from joining the EU. VMRO-DPMNE opposes the agreement with Greece, under which the word “north” is added to the country’s name.
For many years, Skopje confronted a Greek veto that denied Macedonia and its northern province its name and sought to usurp its historical heritage.
As of November 2020, Bulgaria is preventing Northern Macedonia from joining the European Union due to language and historical conflicts.
VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski, who attended the rally, accused the government of “undermining the country’s quality of life, education, agriculture and economy”.
Hristijan Mickovski also condemned the government’s policy on the dispute with Bulgaria. (Photo: VMRO-DPMNE / Facebook)
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