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Violence during a big demonstration of 10,000 Albanians of FYROM

March 7, 2012

Translated from the original Greek text: Kathimerini, 03.03.2012

Isolated violence was recorded during the big demonstration of 10,000 Albanians of FYROM in the town of Gostivar last Thursday. The reason for the demonstration was the murder of two young Albanians by a Slavomacedonian off-duty police officer on Tuesday, after a quarrel over a parking place. The thousands that had gathered demanded justice concerning the perpetrator, Joakim Trifounovski.

According to eyewitnesses of the murder on Tuesday, the 39-year-old police officer was slapped by one of the victims, before running back to his car to take out his gun and shoot the two Albanians.

On Wednesday the American ambassador in Skopje, Paul Walters called on the government to order an official investigation into the event, also asking the citizens to retain their calm.

The demonstration in Gostivar comes in the aftershocks of the inter-communal tensions that broke out at the beginning of January, when Albanian inhabitants of the region of Strouga demonstrated against the racial provocations that they suffered from Slavomacedonian inhabitants of the same village during the local Carnival. In a demonstration that followed Albanians burned down an orthodox church in Struga and burned the national flag.

Gostival was also the scene of inter-communal violence in the past, as in 1997, when two Albanians and one police officer were killed in clashes that followed a demonstration.

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