Macedonia's Skopje Police Brace for More Ethnic Violence

World | February 19, 2011, Saturday // 16:10|  views

A group of ethnic Albanians, including one brandishing a knife, pin down a group of Macedonians (R) to a wall at the Fortress in Skopje last Sunday. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Police in the Macedonian capital Skopje are on the alert following reports that inter-ethnic tensions might lead to another weekend of violence.

Last Sunday, ethnic Albanians and Slavs clashed at Skopsko Kale - Skopje's fortress - over diverging views whether a church must be built there or not.

The fight, involving knives and stones, left seven people injured, one of them a policeman.

Reports have it that this Saturday both supporters and opposers will gather at the Kale to state their position. Police have been deployed in large numbers all around Skopje, with a special concentration on the fortress.

Ethnic Albanians have opposed the construction of the Christian temple in the Kale, saying this is an insult to their minority. Christian Slavic Macedonians on their part have argued that there is no reason that the church be not built.

It is claimed that last week activists from the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration, including high-profile politicians, have actually demolished the building under construction.

Saturday Macedonian Minister of Interior Gordana Jankulovska stated the police will act without hesitation should there be new attempts for violence.

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Tags: macedonia, Skopje, ethnic Albanians, Gordana Jankulovska


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