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5 Macedonia MPs, 25 others charged over parliament attack

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Macedonia’s state prosecutor said Tuesday 30 people including five opposition lawmakers have been charged over their involvement in a violent attack on the parliament last year. Several people were injured in the bloody rioting that erupted after 100 nationalists, including masked men, broke into the assembly in Skopje on April 27 to protest against the vote for a new parliamentary speaker.

The 30 accused included the five MPs from the conservative VMRP-DPMNE party and some senior officials of the interior ministry, who have been charged with “terrorist endangerment of the constitutional order and security”. If found guilty, they could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison. According to Elizabeta Nedanovska, an investigator in the prosecutor’s office, one of the accused allegedly wanted to assassinate Zoran Zaev, the current prime minister who was opposition leader and a MP at the time.

“During the violence one of the accused persons targeted Mr. Zaev with a gun, but he did not shoot at him because other people were standing in front of him,” Nedanovska said. The state prosecutor Ljubomir Joveski said that some of the accused had “set explosive devices in two offices” in the parliament, but failed to activate them.

“The accused endangered the constitutional order with this act of violence and created a sense of insecurity and fear,” he said. The attack on the parliament, which was strongly condemned by the international community, notably the European Union, followed a long-running political crisis in the Balkan country. A month after the violence, Social Democrat Zaev who was beaten up in the riots became prime minister.

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