2011 Macedonian protests
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The 2011 Macedonian protests against police brutality or simply 2011 Macedonian protests were demonstrations that started on 6 June 2011 as а result of the murder of the 21-year-old Martin Neškoski, who was beaten to death by Igor Spasov, a member of the special police forces Tigri.
In the early morning hours of 6 June 2011, while the ruling party celebrated its early election victory in the main square in the capital, Skopje, 21-year-old Martin Neškoski, unarmed and celebrating the victory, was beaten to death by a member of the special forces 'Tigers' charged with securing the celebrations and protecting the Prime Minister. His body was covered up with cardboard and left, as if nothing had happened. However, since his killing had been witnessed by scores of people, it was publicized via Twitter.
The following day, the Ministry of the Interior made no mention of the brutal killing and stated that they had no report of a killing. When asked by reporters about the ‘tweets’, both the Minister of the Interior, and her spokesperson, spoke in contradictions, lies and deceit. That was the last straw, as that evening some 250 people gathered spontaneously in the centre of the city and held a quiet protest, sitting down on the asphalt on one the city’s main arteries. The following day, a Facebook event invited people to symbolically protest against police brutality in front of the Mother Theresa Memorial House, where some 800 people peacefully protested and then marched through the streets with banners saying: “We want Justice”, “STOP Police Brutality” and “Enough Silence – Speak Up”. A few days later, on 10 June, a public holiday, between five and seven thousand took to the streets. There are no organisers, no hierarchy; it is a horizontally structured citizens’ movement. Everyone that has protested is a leader in their own right.
Many celebrities (artists, musicians, politicians etc.) showed up and marched on the streets. Many of them sent their video messages supporting the protests against police brutality. Petar Stojkoviḱ, an actor, was among the most active ones in the media. He also took part in a public hearing held in the European Parliament (Brussels, 2011) where he shared his experience from the protests regarding the media coverage and spoke publicly about the pressures to silence the press and the attempts by the Macedonian government to cover up the truth for the murder of Martin Neškoski.
The protests were held every day throughout June, and some of July. The protesters met at 18:00 at the Mother Theresa Memorial House, and then proceeded to march along the main arteries of the capital Skopje, blocking all traffic, until reaching one of the state institutions (Parliament, High Court, Ministry of the Interior), where they would peacefully sit down, chant and holds minute silences out of respect for the murdered young man. Unfortunately, there were no MPs in Parliament during the protests because of the elections (the night of which the murder occurred), but big demonstrations took place on the day that Parliament re-convened. More protests are planned for the first day of the new parliament.
The daily demonstrations have died down somewhat, due to many reasons (such as the fact that it is high summer, very hot and very few people are in Skopje), but the original Protest Against Police Brutality has turned into a citizens movement, with different groups independently working on monitoring the work of politicians in the country, something that is very necessary and of crucial importance to this Balkan state.
- "Hundreds protest Macedonian beating death". The Washington Post. 7 June 2011.
- "Silencing the press: Press and media freedom in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia". 20 September 2011. Archived from the original on 26 June 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
- Jean-Paul Marthoz (17 October 2011). "Press freedom issues may keep Macedonia from EU". Committee to Protect Journalists.