May 10th passed with absence of protests. Due to the tragic and disturbing events taking place in Kumanovo, the protests were put at hold for the day, and an outdoor plenary took their place.
Citizens and activists gathered at the “Shell” stage in the City Park in Skopje, and spent two hours in discussion on how to continue after the developments and what the most appropriate reaction to them will be. The present decided to mark the second Day of mourning (May 11th) for the victims in Kumanovo by giving respect to the killed policemen in the clashes. The attendants will be wearing only black and white attire as a symbol of the mourning for the deceased Macedonian and Albanian policemen, and light candles and lay flowers for them. The gathering will take place in front of the Government’s building where people will be able to show their condolences with the citizens of Kumanovo and families of the deceased and injured.
The citizens and activists on today’s event rejected partisan labels and relations. They will convey a unique message uniting all, reaching out to political leaders in the country.
During the public assembly, there was little police presence noticeable, and the Governments building was still under serious police security.
At dawn the day before, a police action against armed groups in Kumanovo (the second largest city in Macedonia, close to the northern border) distressed the citizens of the country, and the day was filled with pictures and videos of the burning houses, police shooting, helicopters passing, news on injured policemen and people evacuating from the city and country. Social media was sharing information on the action, until later in the afternoon when the Ministry of Interior announced conducting an anti-terrorist action, and early in the evening when it announced that the majority of terrorist (around 30) surrendered themselves to police. Shootings continued in the night, until today the action was ended. The Kumanovo actions left eight dead policemen, 14 dead “terrorists” and over 37 wounded officers, leaving the country in shock and grief.
Citizens though showed outstanding composure and rationality, calling against violence and manipulation in several TV polls and articles, the videos of which quickly went viral.
More info on Kumanovo: BalkanInsight // Macedonia Declares Mourning For Police Killed in Gunbattles
Photos by: Vanco Dzambaski [Full gallery here]