After Albanian Elected Speaker, Protesters Storm Macedonian Parliament, Injure Opposition MPs

Crowds of nationalist protesters stormed Macedonia’s parliament building on April after the election of an ethnic Albanian, Talat Xhaferi, as speaker. Leaders of opposition parties were reportedly injured.

Among those reported injured was Zijadin Sela, leader of the Albanian Alliance, and Social Democratic leader Zoran Zaev, seen with blood on his face in live televised broadcasts. Their two parties had formed a coalition pact with another ethnic Albanian party, backing Xhaferi for the post. Zaev is seen in the first video wearing a light blue shirt.

Radmila Sekerinska, deputy leader of the Social Democrats, was also attacked. She is the blonde woman seen in the first video having her hair yanked.

The position of speaker had been left unfilled for weeks as parliamentary parties, none of which had been able to form a government since elections in December, remained deadlocked in debates.

The vote was condemned by the former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, which received the most votes in December’s elections, but not enough to form a government. Zaev’s Social Democratic Union of Macedonia party attempted to form a coalition government, securing 69 of the 120 parliamentary seats with another another ethnic Albanian party, but was refused a mandate by President Gjorge Ivanov, a member of VMRO-DPMNE.

Ethnic Albanians make up about a quarter of the population of Macedonia. However, tensions remain following a 2001 insurgency led by the ethnic Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA) militant group. Credit: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty via Storyful

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