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Macedonian police detain 30 people over parliament invasion

November 28, 2017

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonian police detained about 30 people Tuesday, including a former interior minister, former police officials and opposition conservative lawmakers over an invasion of parliament in April this year.

The public prosecutor’s office said it issued an order relating to 36 people in connection with the attack by protesters that left more than 100 people injured.

Those detained were brought to Skopje’s criminal court for questioning and charged with “terrorist threat to the constitutional order and security,” which carries a minimum jail sentence of 10 years.

Former Interior Minister Mitko Chavkov, two former police officials, three lawmakers and protest leaders are among those detained.

The protesters had stormed the parliament after the Social Democrat party and others representing Macedonia’s Albanian ethnic minority voted for a new speaker. The protesters attacked journalists and lawmakers, including then-opposition leader, Zoran Zaev, who is now Macedonia’s acting prime minister.

The conservative VMRO-DPMNE party condemned Tuesday’s detentions and staged protests in front of the court building.

Conservative leader and former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who governed Macedonia for 10 years, has called on the government to “immediately stop political persecution” of the opponents.

Macedonia’s parliament elected a new center-left coalition government led by Zaev in May this year, ending a six-month political stalemate.

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