Macedonian opposition chief: PM tried to cover up a killing

May 5, 2015

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Violent clashes broke out late Tuesday at a demonstration in the Macedonian capital Skopje protesting the 2011 death of a 22-year-old beaten by police during post-election celebrations.

The violence came hours after Macedonia’s opposition leader accused the country’s prime minister of attempting to cover up the death of Martin Neskoski.

Police spokesman Ivo Kotevski said about 15 police officers were injured in the clashes between protesters and police which broke out at around midnight. It was not immediately clear whether any protesters had also been hurt.

Social Democrat head Zoran Zaev released a dozen audio recordings earlier Tuesday in which people purported to be Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, the country’s intelligence chief, its interior minister and other officials discuss how to cover up the killing.

Neskoski was a supporter celebrating Gruevski’s election win. A member of the prime minister’s security and special police unit was convicted of his murder and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

More than 1,000 people gathered Tuesday night in front of the government building to protest the murder of the young conservative supporter.

“Murderers, murderers,” protesters chanted and broke the police cordon at one point, but were prevented from entering the government building. The protestors were also demanding that the conservative cabinet should resign. The clashes appear to have begun after some started throwing objects at the police.

Interior Minister Gordana Jankulovska has described the opposition leader’s claims as “absurd,” accusing Zoran Zaev of creating “monstrous constructions grim scenarios only to achieve his political goal.”

She said the interior ministry did everything in its power to find the person who murdered Neskoski.

Zaev accuses Gruevski of illegally wiretapping 20,000 Macedonians. He says unspecified people gave him the recordings, which he has been publishing.

Gruevski says the wiretaps were done by foreign spies and accuses Zaev of plotting a coup.

Update hourly