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Macedonian Opposition Calls for Civil Disobedience

December 26, 2012

Opposition Social Democrat chief calls for acts of civil disobedience after the government adopted a controversial budget for 2013 amid street protests and scuffles in parliament.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic, Balkan Insight, 25.12.2012

 

Opposition head, Branko Crvenkovski | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

In a speech outside parliament on Monday, the leader of the opposition Social Democrats, Branko Crvenkovski accused the ruling VMRO DPMNE party of Gruevski of  totalitarian rule.

“As of today, Macedonia got its own [Slobodan] Milosevic,” said Crvenkovski, referring to the late Serbian strongman.

“If he wants to be Milosevic, he will also get his October 5,” he adding, referring to the massive protests in Serbia in October 2000 that toppled his rule.

Unfazed by the protests, the government parties on Monday adopted a 2013 budget in minutes after opposition MPs and journalists were kicked out of the parliament.

“From today there is no parliament,” Crvenkovski said, calling on people to prepare for “civil disobedience.

“Get ready, we start from tomorrow, there is no turning back! We will wage this battle till the end! We will do everything to protect democracy, constitutional order and the country,” he added.

Monday saw a tense stand-off between several thousand people separated by a thick police cordon.

Opposition supporters protested against the government’s plan for the 2013 budget. The government responded by sending its supporters to stage a counter- protest.

Media reports said 18 people were injured in protests in front of parliament. The police said that 11 police officers reported injuries and said they arrested several people.

While stones flew between opposing rallies in the streets in front of parliament, scuffles also broke out between deputies in the parliament. Three deputies were reported injured as opposition MPs were kicked out of the plenary hall.

Journalists were also removed from parliament, drawing an angry response from the Journalists’ Association, ZNM.

The president of the ZNM, Naser Selmani, said the government has reached “the bottom of its irresponsible behaviour”.

The police said that even although the security forces had been physically and verbally attacked by some legislators they had re-established order in the assembly.

“The Interior Ministry keeps working towards securing institutions and public order, as well as adequately dealing with all those involved in the incidents,” police said.

EU and US representatives in the country have expressed concern.

The Social Democrats have condemned the government’s plan to raise two fresh loans from the World Bank at the start of next year, totaling between 250 and 300 million euro, insisting that the government had already raised the debt too high and aimed to boost spending instead of cutting costs.

Photo by: Vanco Dzambaski

The Parliamentary Commission on Financing and the Budget was blocked with over 1,200 amendments submitted by the Social Democrats.

The situation became more complicated on Sunday when the government used an emergency session to adopt a new draft budget, said to contain only minor changes, and sent it back to parliament for swift adoption, bypassing the Commission.

“Everything we did today, we did for the good of the people and the state,” the speaker of parliament, Trajko Veljanovski, said on Monday, after the ruling parties had adopted the budget.

 

See Also:

Greek Press:

  • Kathimerini, 24.12.2012, “ΠΓΔΜ: Σκληρή αναμέτρηση κυβέρνησης- αντιπολίτευσης”
  • Kathimerini, 24.12.2012, “ΠΓΔΜ: Η αντιπολίτευση κάλεσε τους πολίτες της χώρας σε ανυπακοή κατά της κυβέρνησης”
  • Kathimerini, 24.12.2012, “ΠΓΔΜ: Ψηφίστηκε ο προϋπολογισμός της χώρας”
  • Kathimerini, 24.12.2012, “ПΓΔΜ: Επεισόδια εντός και εκτός Βουλής”
  • Proto Thema, 25.12.2012, “Ξύλο και τραυματίες εντός της Βουλής της ΠΓΔΜ!” (with links to previous articles)
  • Naftemboriki, 24.12.2012, “ΠΓΔΜ: Ένταση και επεισόδια εκτός και εντός Βουλής”
  • Naftemboriki, 24.12.2012, “ΠΓΔΜ: Προϋπολογισμός εν μέσω επεισόδιων εκτός και εντός Βουλής”
  • Naftemboriki, 25.12.2012, “ΠΓΔΜ: Αποκλεισμοί δρόμων από την αντιπολιτευόμενη Σοσιαλδημοκρατική Ένωση”
  • Ta Nea, 24.12.2012, “ΠΓΔΜ: «Λαϊκή εξέγερση» προβλέπει η αντιπολίτευση μετά τα επεισόδια”
  • Ta  Nea, 26.12.2012, “Κλιμακώνονται οι κινητοποιήσεις της αντιπολίτευσης στην ΠΓΔΜ”

Bulgarian Press

UK Press

  • BBC, 24.12.2012, “Macedonia budget sparks protests in front of parliament”
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