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Violent protests erupt over demands of EU neighbor (VIDEOS) — Analysis

The French-led “compromise solution” between North Macedonia and Bulgaria has angered Macedonian nationalists

Nearly 50 police officers were injured overnight on Wednesday amid violent protests in North Macedonia, the country’s Interior Ministry has said.

Thousands of people have rallied nightly in the capital city of Skopje since the weekend in protest of a French proposal for a compromise with neighboring Bulgaria and lift the roadblock Sofia had put on North Macedonia’s EU accession process.

Nationalists gathered outside of the parliament building. Several groups of protesters clashed with police. Some protestors were seen throwing stones, eggs, Molotov cocktails, and other projectiles at both the building and at police.

During the disturbances, 47 police officers were injured. Two of these officers received treatment. “serious” injuries. According to authorities, eleven protesters were taken into custody overnight. Official figures regarding possible protestor deaths have not been made available. However, some footage that circulated online shows police brutally beating some.

The unrest was triggered by a new twist in the long-time row between North Macedonia and neighboring Bulgaria, which had blocked Skopje’s EU accession process. Bulgaria’s veto was used in 2020, when North Macedonia (a candidate for EU membership since 2005) and Albania were to begin negotiations with the EU. Sofia wants Skopje, which has long wanted to recognize the Bulgarian origins of the Macedonian Language, the recognition of the Bulgarian minorities in the country and fight for democracy, to officially acknowledge these roots. “hate speech”Bulgaria

The seemingly long-standing deadlock in which progress was made appeared to have been broken late last month when the French president Emmanuel Macron declared that he had a solution. “compromise solution”This would be a good solution for both Sofia and Skopje. Macron provided no concrete details regarding the solution.

While North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski initially branded the compromise “unacceptable,”Finally, he did a U-turn. “We have a proposal that incorporates our notes and our clearly stated stances,”He said it last week when he announced a new government “consultation process”More information.

However, the prospect of a compromise has been strongly rejected by Macedonian nationists, namely, right-wing VMRO–DPMNE opposition party.

“We do not need Europe if we have to be assimilated,” VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski told reporters before the start of Tuesday’s protest. “The answer is no for the latest French proposal.”

“If Europe is not ready to accept us civilized Macedonians where we belong, then we will wait until there are people who will understand that Macedonia and Macedonian identity is above and before all,”He added.

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