Macedonian interior ministry suspends 16 police officers over parliament storming

Macedonian interior ministry suspends 16 police officers over parliament storming
Sixteen police officers have been arrested for failing to take action to stop the violence in parliament
By bne IntelliNews May 21, 2017

Macedonia's interior ministry suspended 16 policemen on May 20, including one senior officer in the ministry, for failing to attempt to stop the violent incidents in the parliament on April 27, when a group of demonstrators stormed the building. 

Some 100 were injured in the incident which followed the election of a new parliament speaker, Talat Xhaferi. The injured included Zoran Zaev, the leader of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) party, who is in the process of forming a new government.

“The video footage showed that police officers passively observed masses of citizens who tried to enter the assembly and failed to take actions to help other police officers,” the ministry said in the statement. It claimed the police officers did not act in accordance with the law or follow official procedures.

The suspension was announced after Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov gave the mandate to the  SDSM leader Zoran Zaev to form a new government with three ethnic Albanian parties five months after the December election.

SDSM blamed former governing party VMRO-DPMNE for being behind the bloody incidents. VMRO-DPMNE denied the accusation, saying that the incident happened spontaneously as some citizens were angered due to the "illegal" election of Xhaferi as new speaker.

Xhaferi was elected in a non-standard procedure as VMRO MPs obstructed the process.

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