Mass Protest in Macedonia Vows to Bring Down Gruevski

World | October 29, 2012, Monday // 14:30|  views

Macedonian opposition leaders (L-R) Georgievski, Zherenovski, and Crvenkovski attend an opposition rally at the main square in Skopje, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 28 October 2012. Photo by BGNES

Dozens of thousands of protesters gathered in downtown Skopje Sunday night in order to demand an end to the rule of the center-right VMRO-DPMNE party and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.

Former Macedonian President and Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski, who is now the leader of the united opposition in Macedonia, demanded that Gruevski organize early elections together with Macedonia's upcoming local elections in March 2013, the BGNES news agency reported.

The Macedonian opposition has also called for a referendum on a potential agreement with Greece in the so called "name dispute" (in which Greece disputes Macedonia's name because a geographic region in Northern Greece is also called Macedonia.

Crvenkovski told the protesters that the end of the one-party regime of Nikola Gruevski in Macedonia is "near".

"In the last 20 years, I have gone through all kinds of things – victories and defeats, joy and sorrow but never have I seen such a will and conviction for victory as I do today," he stated.

The leader of Macedonia's Liberal Democratic Party Andrey Zherenovski also addressed the crown in Skopje.

The Macedonian opposition also slammed the Skopje 2014 project of the Gruevski Cabinet, which provides for the construction of megalomaniac monuments of alleged historical Macedonian figures. However, those are in fact figures from the Ancient Greek and Medieval Bulgarian history.

The opposition stressed that the Macedonian government has spent enormous sums of money on the construction of the said monuments, while the country's unemployment rate is over 20%.

The government's total control over the media in Macedonia, the country's diplomatic isolation, the ethnic tensions between Macedonians and Albanians, and the youth unemployment were other issues mentioned by the Macedonian opposition at the protest rally.

According to Yani Makraduli, candidate for Skopje Mayor from the united opposition, today's Macedonians "are living on leasing, and dying in installments".

Opposition leader Crvenkovski promised that after the opposition takes over it will ask the people what the fate of the Skopje 2014 monuments must be.

"One thing is for sure. We are going to terminate the construction of the monuments and will direct the investments towards education, healthcare, and infrastructure," he said urging all parties to unite in order to save the country.

"The entire world is laughing at us. The international media are describing Skopje as the largest Disneyland in the world. We are the only country in the world that paid EUR 250 000 for three willows. They were named by PM Gruevski Faith, Hope, and Love. As you know, hope is supposed to be the last to die but here Hope was the first to wither," Andrey Zherenovski told the protesters.

The end of the rally saw Macedonia's largest political foes from the 1990s – Branko Crvenkovski and Ljupco Georgievski – standing together, promising the end of Nikola Gruevski's "dictatorship".

The Bulgarian news agency BGNES has pointed out that Sunday's opposition rally was one of the few instances in the past 22 years that downtown Skopje has seen so many people rallying.

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Tags: Nikola Gruevski, Ljupco Georgievski, macedonia, Macedonians, name dispute, Skopje, Skopje 2014, Branko Crvenkovski, VMRO-DPMNE, Andrey Zherenovski, Macedonian opposition


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