Thirty people, including five Macedonian MPs, were charged on Tuesday for their participation in the violent attack on the parliament building last April in an effort to prevent deputies from electing a president from the Albanian minority, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
About 100 people, including about 20 policemen, were wounded during the violence, when a hundred nationalists, some hooded, broke into the parliament to protest against Talat Xhaferi’s election, by the coalition of social workers. Democrats (SDSM) of Zoran Zaev, current Prime Minister, and parties of the Albanian minority.
The suspects, including the five elected members of the nationalist, right-wing VMRO-DPMNE and several top officials from the Ministry of the Interior, are charged with terrorism” and “undermining the constitutional order and security.” The public prosecutor’s adviser, Elizabeta Nedanovska, told a press conference in Skopje that the attack on the parliament building was “an act of violence… putting in danger the lives of lawmakers, journalists, officials, and employees in parliament and creating a feeling of insecurity, danger and fear among citizens.”
According to Nedanovska, one of the defendants intended to assassinate Zoran Zaev, the then leader of the opposition.
“During the violence, one of the defendants targeted Zoran Zaev with a pistol, but he did not shoot because other people were in front of him,” she said. Several others are accused of “placing explosive devices in two offices” of parliament that they did not activate, according to the prosecutor Ljubomir Joveski.
If found guilty, the defendants could face sentences of between 10 and 25 years in prison.
No date has yet been set for the trial to begin.
The new majority that elected Talat Xhaferi was formed after the early elections in December 2016 and a long political stalemate. Albanians represent 20-25% of the country’s population of 2.1 million, mostly Orthodox Slavs. Zoran Zaev, himself wounded during the violence, formed the new government a month later.