Prominent members of the recently founded political party named Levica, were detained by the police in Skopje for interrogation on Monday morning, 25 of April 2016, due to charges of demolishing the office of the President of the Republic of Macedonia during one of the protests which have been shaking the streets of Skopje for 12 days now. In addition, it was proven that the Macedonian secret services are following a large number of left-wing activists in an action coded “Pepper”.
The political tension in Macedonia does not have an end in sight. Anti-government protests are being staged every day at 6pm, regardless of the poor weather conditions, arrests and intimidation with repressive methods adopted by Nikola Gruevski, the ousted Prime Minister, for exerting control. Contrary to the disinformation and lies in terms of the protesters which the conservative VMRO-DPMNE serves to the public with the aid of pro-government media and fantasy conspiracy theories, the protests are not organised by international evil axis, but by a plethora of completely diverse activist groups whose policies and strategies are determined by Macedonians.
The mentioned organisations differ in terms of their social values, political orientation and the methods for struggle, but they still stand united under the basic demand for ousting Gruevski and VMRO-DPMNE from the government and restoring the fundamental democratic processes in Macedonia. Aside from Levica, Lenka and Solidarnost, the biggest opposition party SDSM, led by Zoran Zaev, is also actively taking part in the protests, as well as numerous human rights and green non-governmental organisations; student plenums and organisations comprising the Albanian ethnic minority, As the government is increasingly falling from grace, the protesters are joined by a mounting number of organisations, even some small central and right-wing parties.
Behind closed doors
Despite the continuous protests ongoing for over a year, the crisis does not abate. After the realisation that the Przino agreement has failed, a new meeting was scheduled for Friday in Vienna. The international community is trying to play the role of a peace-maker and arbitrator, that it appears it considers Gruevski worthy of another chance. The meeting, however, did not take place, due to Zoran Zaev, the president of SDSM, not making an appearance. He has announced the boycott of the elections owing to lack of fulfillment of the basic conditions for fair and democratic elections. SDSM’s boycott announcement has prompted other parties to opt for boycotting the elections as well.
SDSM withdrew from the protests last week, due to which there were speculations that Zaev is negotiating with the international community and Gruevski behind closed doors; however, new information on the content of the (un)held negotiations is not available to us. “But even if there are negotiations ongoing, they are not going well, because SDSM joined the protests on Monday again”, according to the sources of Bilten, active organisers of the protests. For Zaev, negotiations with Gruevski would imply potential loss of the public’s support, which has learnt its lessons due to his former withdrawals and concessions and has no confidence in SDSM’s resolution to truly adhere to the announced election boycott and not participate in the elections scheduled for June, 5th. The assembly dissolution implies that the elections must take place, and if SDSM legitimises them by taking part, Zaev, in addition to his party, would compromise a year of protests. The protests are hence important as a democratic pressure mechanism upon the social-democratic party, whose tactics have oftentimes been withdrawal under pressure rather than perseverance in its own principles.
“No justice, no peace”
As the election date is approaching, pressure on the social movement is increasing. For instance, Gjorгje Ivanov, the President of the Republic of Macedonia, highlighted in an interview a week ago how the secret intelligence services, under his authority, were surveilling the left-wing activists that in yesterday’s Dnevnik publication were accused of toppling the democratically elected government in Macedonia, including premeditated creation of a refugee crisis in the country. According to Dnevnik’s article, they are aided by Die Linke, a party in the German parliament, numerous NGOs from Macedonia, Greece, the EU, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the US, Soros Open Foundation, the Muslim brotherhood etc.
The article published by the biggest Macedonian media is an incredible example of the capitulation of all criteria of journalism, but also a clear indicator that Dnevnik is under the control of Nikola Gruevski. Except for personal names, addresses and phone numbers of individual left-wing activists, the article does not contain almost a single accurate information, and the very composition is markedly tendentious and false, representing the prime example of a conspiracy theory, usually a reflection of lack of understanding of social relations. The accused organisations’ political objectives are oftentimes contradictory, they also have different methods of fight and are in general on diverging sides of the spectrum in societal conflicts. The aim of the mentioned article is discreditation of the growing social movement; on the other hand, this blatant abandon of journalist criteria is clearly indicative of an increasingly mounting despair of Nikola Gruevski, who has less and less resources at his disposal. The protesters now have to simply persevere until the very end, despite the arrests and the political and personal pressures under which they find themselves.
Disclaimer: The text is written and published in Bilten.org