May 8th was the fourth day of continuous protests marked with limited freedom of movement of protesters, a student sit in and also counter-protests by journalists and publicly owned buses.
The day was marked by the first counter-protests on this movement yet – where journalists and buses protested at the headquarters of SDSM, the political party leaking the wiretapped conversations. The first counter-protests were organized by journalists from pro-governmental media, and led by Ivona Talevska, who with sticks and stones showed up in front of the building, for a non-violent protest. The protest comes after the evening before people on the streets verbally attacked the TV Sitel team, and Ms. Talevska got her palm scratched, and after a glass entrance door of the still newly established Radio Free Macedonia was demolished. Ms. Talevska is also editor at newspaper Vecher and journalist at TV Sitel, and most recently notorious due to a scandal about 1.000.000 EUR tender suspiciously awarder to her firm by the Ministry of Health, after which she had a period of no public appearance.
The second counter protest, also at the HQ of the opposition party was a line of double-decker buses, and as the bus drivers said: protesting the demolishing of buses by opposition activists. Several buses from the publicly owned Public Transport Company – Skopje, blocked the street in their own form of counter protest against a political party not in power.
The protests on the streets started as each of the days before, with a gathering at 18 hours in front of the Government’s building. Protesters in Skopje were joined in with protests in 8 other cities in the country.
In Skopje since day two, police has limited freedom of movement and do not allow people to gather on the street in front of the Government. Although the right to protest, by Article 21 of the Constitution can be limited only in conditions of war and state of emergency, none of which is the situation in Macedonia, people were still not allowed to protest the street. The protesters marched to the Ministry of Interior, where they were also not allowed access in front of the building. Leaving with paroles “We will come back”, protesters joined the final point as in the previous two days, the National Assembly, where they continued to whistle, chant and express their discontent.
At 23 o’clock, students blocked Partizanska Bulevard, right in front of the library where on the first day of protest the police aggressively entered and harassed students studying seeking for protesters. The students symbolically gathered to study at the same time that the library was raided, blocking the streets. Two persons were called at a police station after the protes
The following morning, people were intercepted with the horrendous news of shootings and incidents in Kumanovo.
Activist Anastas Vangeli wrote:
This morning, after four days of continuous anti-government protests organized by civic groups (yesterday activists beyond all ethnic background gathered in 9 cities to demand resignation by the government – note, the opposition still holds off, and they still have their date for protests set for May 17), we woke up to the news that late in the night (4.30 AM) the Macedonian armed forces stormed Kumanovo (a city in the northeast, not far from Skopje) to fight “an armed terrorist group.” People speak of war-like scenes (shooting, detonations, civilian deaths). We have still limited info from the ground, but one thing we know for sure already is that Gruevski will do anything to stay in power, even if the cost of that is staging a civil war until it eventually becomes one. No one can or should remain silent, it is now a civic duty to be self-organized, and calmly and thoroughly diffuse the propaganda of the regime and resist its co-optation strategies.