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More than 100 injured after protestors storm Macedonia’s parliament

Protesters reportedly entered Macedonia's parliament on April 27 following the election of Talat Xhaferi as speaker of the assembly.

Protesters – some of them wearing masks – entered Macedonia’s parliament on April 27 following the election of Talat Xhaferi as speaker of the assembly.

The interior ministry said in an April 28 statement that 102 people were treated at city hospitals, including MPs and police officers.

Interior minister Agim Nuhiu said 10 MPs were among the injured. Earlier reports said four MPs were injured, among them Zoran Zaev, leader of the social democratic SDSM party.

Xhaferi is the first ethnic Albanian parliamentary speaker in Macedonia since its independence in 1991. He was elected by 67 MPs in the 120-seat parliament, and is a member of the BDI party.

The nationalist VMRO-DPMNE party challenged Xhaferi’s election. They said the vote was not carried out electronically, as is usual, because the parliamentary session had formally ended, according to a Reuters news agency report.

President Gjorge Ivanov called for calm and said he would convene a meeting with the political party leaders on Friday.

Outside parliament, police dispersed a large protest, reportedly using flash-bang grenades and riot smoke. Some protesters were reported to have set up tents.

There have been daily street protests in Skopje since a coalition was agreed between SDSM and other parties representing ethnic Albanians, who make up around a third of the country’s population.

President Ivanov has refused to give SDSM leader Zaev a mandate to form a new government.

Balkan Insight reports that VMRO-DPMNE has been filibustering parliament debates for a month to prevent the election of a speaker.

Some are accusing the nationalist VRMO-DPMNE party of being behind the protest but Grasswire has not confirmed this.

VMRO-DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski was Macedonia’s prime minister for a decade, but the party was ousted in elections in December 2016.

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