The police brutality from 5th May 2015 fomented the fire of the protests

5 May 2015. Police’s offensive. Photo: Truthmeter

Протестот пред Владата на РМ, а потоа и судирите со полицијата низ улиците на центарот на Скопје, откако таа ги нападна демонстрантите, претставуваа пресвртница кај протестното движење во главниот град. Тие овозможија овогодишните протести да бидат уште похрабри и побројни и го отворија патот кон Шарената револуција.

 

 

The protest in front of the government’s building, followed by the clashes with the police on the streets in the center of Skopje, after they attacked the protesters, represented a turning point in the protest movement in the capital. This protest made this year’s protests even more courageous and numerous and also paved the way towards the Colorful Revolution. The protesters unleashed their wrath upon the baroque-like government building after they heard the recordings related to the murder of Martin Neshkoski; however they were attacked by the police and it is believed that this attack was on a direct order from the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. Nevertheless, the most important information about the events from that night will become known when this government will no longer be in power. 

 

Author: Sasho Spasoski

Today is the anniversary of the brutally suppressed protest that took place in front of the government’s building, which began immediately after SDSM played the wiretapped conversations on 5th May last year, which revealed how the government was covering up the murder of Martin Neshkoski and then tried to clean the shame and guilt. The people’s wrath and the brutal attack of the government that used the police in order to suppress the scream of resistance against the lies and the criminal ruling, as the protesters say, on the very same day became imprinted in the public opinion as one of the most remarkable events since the Macedonian independence.

The protesters on Ilinden Boulevard, who gathered just a couple of hours after the press conference of Zoran Zaev, threw eggs towards the government’s building and yelled “Murderers!” and “Justice for Martin!”. Thousands of angered citizens requested resignations from the government officials.

The situation dynamized when some of the protesters tried to penetrate the police cordon and to come closer to the government’s building. Some of them managed and among those were the brother and the mother of the murdered Martin. Later, access to the building was allowed, however there was another police cordon between the building from the protesters. At that time, around 9:00 PM, a group started provoking and attacking the police. Some of the protesters threw tomatoes, eggs, stones and torches. Then, the police pushed all protesters away from the entrance and dispersed them into more separate groups, whereupon there were beaten, injured, and arrested protesters too, and a part of them were not violent and did not show resistance at all. The chase of the protesters, which also included a large number of people who were calmly watching the escalation, then spread on the streets in the center of Skopje, with plenty of beaten and detained people. During the chase, some of the police special force officers raided the City library “Brakja Miladinovci”, whereupon, based on a suspicion that were participating in violence, the police arrested and harassed students that were studying in the library that night.

 

ARRESTS, JUDGEMENTS AND REACTIONS

The Basic Court Skopje 1 gave eight parole judgements and one 10-month prison sentence for the nine protesters convicted of causing incidents and attacking policemen during the protests.

According to the MOI, on the protest on Ilinden Boulevard on 5 May 2015, but also during the police hunt after the protest, there were 38 injured and around 30 arrested citizens. The Minister Jankuloska and the Prime Minister Gruevski rushed to compliment the police action and they assessed it as professional.

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Photo: Protesting poster

However, Human Rights Watch in their police brutality report regarding the protests on 5th May stated that the police had used excessive force during the protest.

The reactions and the assessments of the opposition media and the Macedonian NGOs also state that the police used excessive force.

A day after the recordings were published, Nikola Gruevski appeared on Sitel TV station whereupon he was persuading the public that neither the Minister of Interior, nor anybody else, wanted to hide something, but he did not say anything about the part in the recordings where we can hear his order for denying that the suspect for the murder of Martin Neshkoski was officially present on VMRO-DPMNE’s rally.

The protest that took place on 5 May 2015 in front of the government’s building was the inception of the series of protests which followed through, during which the citizens requested the government’s resignation. In just a couple of days the protests gained a new dimension via the movement Protestiram.

Soon after the massive rally on 17th May, the Camp of Freedom was set up on Ilinden Boulevard, and all this pressured the government and led to negotiations and the Przhino Agreement, which was an attempt to solve the crisis. The protests were reincarnated after President Ivanov’s pardoning decision and they began on 12 April this year and soon after they gained the apropriated the motto Colorful revolution.

Фото: протестен постер
Photo: Protesting poster

 

PROTEST THAT INFLAMED ALL PROTESTS

Although the largest, that was not the sole protest. However, 5th May was the start of a genuine rebellion. D-r Branimir Jovanovikj reminded us about this on his Facebook profile today:

Everything did not begin with 5th May. There were other protests previously. A plethora of protests. The 5th May was actually a continuation of the wave of protests that began in the autumn of 2014, with the Student March. Before that there were other protests as well – for the rescue of the park near Bristol, against the raise of the electricity price, against the police brutality, against the church on the Skopje Main square, protests of the laid-off workers, protests on 1st May…

However, the protests gained a different meaning on 5th May. On 5th May we jumped over the police fence, we were face to face with the Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU), we were very close to entering the Government building, we were wondering “what if we enter and we find Gruevski?”, the police used asymmetrical force, they were beating, arresting people in libraries, they arrested 42 persons…

The 5th May was our initiation act. The act after which we, the protesters, ripened. The act after which we did not lose the fear, yet we learned how to cope with it. The deed after which we figured out that killing the beast is not an easy thing to do, but is manageable.

Therefore, I will always write the 5th May with a capital letter* (*the months in the Macedonian language are written in lowercase letters), because for me, it is a holiday, one of the greatest. Therefore, tonight, as always, I will proudly yell – FROM 5TH MAY UNTIL THE END!

See you later, at 6:00 PM in front of the SPP’s office!

Today’s protest is in rememberance of the murder of Neshkoski and also the anniversary of the bloody outcome of last year’s protests.

 

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This article was created within the framework of the Project to increase the accountability of the politicians and political parties Truthmeter implemented by Metamorphosis. The article is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy(NED) and The Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, an initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euroatlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. The content is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, National Endowment for Democracy, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, or its partners.