Time: 12:45 a.m. CEST
By Aleksandra Dukovska in Skopje I Macedonia
and like many of us listened to the live stream of the opposition Social Democratic Union Party president, Zoran Zaev. It was 29th news conference of those organized during the period of three months. When Neskovski heard to his brother name at the beginning at the news conference, he must have been thought: “I can hear the truth.” Or at least, I can hear what really happened to my brother four years ago. Then, memories of the difficult and challenging time appeared to his mind. What to hear? What to think? What to understand? Half of their family is gone now.
Martin is dead. His father died shortly after unpleasant incident with the killing happened in June 2011. Neskovski perhaps cried listening to the words of officials. Than again, he must have listened to the voice of Zaev at the news conference, claiming Prime minister Nikola Gruevski and police officials were in attempt to cover up the death of his brother. It must have been more confusing that shortly after Zaev’s news conference the Minister of Interior Gordana Jankulovska gave her explanation for the past events.
Jankulovska said that Zaev misused the death of a young person. After the reported conversation in which the people could hear Jankulovska’s voice, the Minister said, the Ministry undertook the necessary measures to find the person who committed the crime. Almost four years after the death of Martin Neskovski the resentment in part of the public does not go down; it is understandable considering the controversies his death followed in 2011. About four hours after the news conference of a political party Social Democratic Union people gathered through social media calls, especially via Facebook in front of the government of Republic of Macedonia. Riot police that guarded the Government building did not allow not even to the brother of died Martin Neskovski to approach the government building. Watering eyes of Aleksandar Neskovski mixed with years of anger spoke more than anyone could imagine on Tuesday.
At first peaceful protest of about 1000 citizens of Macedonia’s capital Skopje turned into tense exchange between part of the protesters and large presence of members of Rapid Deployment Unit supported with water cannon vehicles and other riot equipment. People who had an opportunity to listen to the audio recordings of the reported claims of the opposition SDSM President Zoran Zaev felt anger of the behavior of the police officials in 2011 when the death of the 22-year-old citizens of Skopje happened at the square “Macedonia” in Skopje. Members of the unions, journalists, and youth in Skopje organized through social media shortly after the news conference protested and requested of the riot police deployed in front of the government to take down the shields.
Shortly after 9:30 p.m. CEST on May 5, 2015 Rapid Deployment Unit started to disperse protesters after more than three hours scuffles between the citizens in the first raw and police cordons. People threw eggs, potatoes, stones, and bottles of water to the government’s building. The building also represents point for division in the society between residents with different political sentiments of those in current government. The unrest and riots are unknown for this central part of Skopje, where in the Municipality Center, residents have sentiments toward opposition.
But, at this protest people shouted generally against police brutality, or against the current government, requesting immediate changes and resignations. About 9:50 p.m. situation escalated with members of the Rapid Deployment Unit pushing residents, protesters and some of the journalists away from the building of the Government. What followed in the next hour and half it was not characteristic for Skopje, a city with more than 500.000 residents experienced in the recent past. The largest previous scuffles between police and residents were basketball games. But this was something different.
For the first time in the city’s downtown people confronted large police presence shouting against them and calling them to support their requests. While police did not used water cannons on part of the protesters, Riot Deployment Unit members chased and dispersed protesters on couple of boulevards in Skopje and into the side streets in the part of the city with most popular coffee places and restaurants. Members of the police chased people toward buildings and yielded to them to get to their apartments and into the buildings.
Young girl cried on the boulevard stressed probably by the noise, marching police, and broken glass on the main Boulevard “Saint Clement of Ohrid” in Skopje. Police arrested a couple of young people and took them to the police vans and after that possible to the police station. Situation calmed down shortly after 11:30 p.m. CEST when large police units deployed on “Partizanska” boulevard in Skopje, and when firefighters extinguish the fire in the burning garbage containers.
Part of the police chased youth in the nearby buildings in the downtown Skopje until late night, but the police withdraw of the streets and boulevards shortly before midnight. Police detained about 30 people, while 38 police officers were injured, according to the police. Skopje survived a dangerous night. Martin Neskovski died after a police member caused his death in the reported fight during the celebration of the victory of VMRO-DPMNE on general elections in 2011. After a court process, Igor Spasov member of special police unit was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the death of Neskovski. The internal intolerance between different special police units in the Ministry of Interior, as reported conversations show, influenced on the developments and led, at least indirectly to the death of Martin Neskovski.
Photo gallery: Skopje Survived Dangerous Night
Note: No one can use these photographs for any recognition and against anyone. Journalism photography.