May of 2015 proved an eventful month, full of difficult ordeals and troubled times.
In that month’s 30 days, the armed conflict in Divo Naselje occurred, the resignations of three senior officials of the ruling party were submitted following the death of Martin Neshokovski, three leadership summits, a meeting in Strasbourg, a mass protest by the political opposition which was in turn followed by the formation of the “Liberty Camp” as well another mass gathering organized by the ruling VMRO-DPMNE.
Here are some of the events which took place last May:
• May 2 -3 – 15th Congress of the VMRO-DPMNE: The ruling party held their Congress in Kumanovo following the re-election of Nikola Gruevski as party President. The Congress was originally scheduled for the 9-10 May, however, the date was moved back for a week, at that time “Meta” reported that the reason for the rescheduling was due to “security and operational purposes”.
• May 5 – Protest for Martin Neshkovski: Martin Neshkovski Protest Following the 29th ‘bomb’ was released, citizens spontaneously gathered to protest and express their anger at the cover-up of Martin Neshlkovski’s death. Protesters broke through police cordons and marched towards the Government buildings where special police units were deployed to guard entrances. The police reacted violently towards the demonstrators which in turn prompted those protesting to react by throwing stones, bottles and burning anything flammable. Police then used force and arrests began of some of those taking part in the protests. Police presence was reinforced and eventually managed to disperse the crowd, arresting 30 people in the process. Police suffered casualties, with some 30 officers injured, some seriously wounded during the protests.
• May 9-10 – Divo Naselje: In the neighbourhood of Divo Naselje, in Kumanovo, security forces carried out an operation against an alleged terrorist group, where 8 people died and over 30 police officers were injured.
• May 12 – Resignations: Gordana Jankuloska the Minister of the Interior, Mile Janakieski Minister for Transport and Communications, and Sasho Mijalkov the Director of the Security and the Counter Intelligence Agency, all submitted their resignations.
• May 14 – First Leaders’ Meeting: At the MPs Clubhouse, Nikola Gruevski from the VMRO-DPMNE, Zoran Zaev from the SDSM, Ali Ahmeti from the DUI and Menduh Thachi from the DPA came together for the first leaders’ meeting. Also present were US Ambassador Jess Baily and EU Ambassador Aivo Orav.
• May 17 – SDSM protests and “Citizens for Macedonia” protest: The opposition along with various civil organizations, in association with “Citizens for Macedonia” held a mass rally and protest in front of Government buildings, at which they demanded that the then Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski should resign. After the protest had ended “Camp Liberty” was established, a collection tents to house protesters, their aim was for Gruevski to step down. However “Camp Liberty” was dismantled once all four political party leaders came to an agreement which provided an escape route from the political crisis, this agreement had required the mediation services of Johannes Hahn from the European Commission for Enlargement.
• May 18 – Second Leader’ Meeting: Held at the MP Clubhouse.
• May 18 – Mass gathering of the VMRO-DPMNE: From Pella Square, the top of the party said the Macedonia was being threatened by dictatorship from the political minority, but there will be no retreat and no surrender.
• May 19 – Marathon Meeting in Strasbourg: The leader of the ruling VMRO-DPMNE Nikola Gruevski, and the leader of the opposition SDSM, Zoran Zaev, met in the presence of three MEPs and EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn. However, the meeting ended in a stalemate without an agreement.
• May 26 – Third Leaders’ Meeting in the MP Clubhouse