Riot Police Tried To Manage Disagreements On Student Elections


Time: 12:32 p.m. CEST

Students_Protest_Student_Parliament6086 copy.JPG
An armored vehicle of the riot police parked on the street close to Student Parliament’s premises in Skopje on July 1, 2016

The “Ss.Cyril and Methodius” University Senate and its rector will discus the incidents , involving students organizations and movements on and of the campus on Monday, the university stated.

Student Plenum, as today Ivana Tufegdzik stated the Plenum is not accepting the result of June 30 elections for Student Parliament. Tufegzik asked on Friday who gave an order for the riot police intervention and who signed the order for such police operation. She announced possible radicalization from the beginning of the next academic year at “Ss.Cyril and Methodius” University in Skopje.

The new president of the Student Parliament of the University “Ss.Cyril and Methodius” Skopje, this student body announced on Friday, is Davor Poposki. He won with 3851 votes against another candidate Stefan Vasilevski who had 1,275 votes. Total of 5264 students voted and this student body announced 138 votes where invalid.

According to the Student Parliament “yesterday’s election of a new president of the Student Parliament on all 23 faculties started on time at 9:00 a.m. and ended at 4:00 p.m.” This student body blames another unofficial student movement Student Plenum for “political motivation,” as the statement said. They also claims Student Plenum prevent the students to express their democratic right, and it was a direct attack on freedom of student expression.

Official explanation of the Ministry of Interior, says the representatives of the Student Parliament, which is an NGO reported on three occasions are afraid to go out “because unknown persons shone lasers and threatened will paint them.” Police say, it decided to deploy more police forces to avoid disruption of the public order.

“At that moment,three students arrived  carrying ballot boxes and by the same group of students gathered outside the building were insulted with abusive words, were threatened and not allowed to enter the building,” the statement says. Police officers set blockade of the group “in order to ease the safe departure of persons who were in the offices of the boarding house,” the statement says on the intervention between two group of students.

However, the situation and video materials from the afternoon at the Law Faculty “Iustinianus Primus“ in Skopje show different perspective of the situation development, which culminated, with police intervention to remove Student Plenum’s students from the entrance and another police intervention to stop bigger fights between two different groups.

According to the video of A1.on.mk [Law Faculty_Ballot Box] the problems start with misunderstandings where the student election representatives should count the votes. Then, the ballot box, or the ballot boxes disappeared in the direction toward the other premises of the student organizations in the other part of the town. [see mobile video uploaded on Facebook, by Студентски Пленум/Student Plenum.]

Ballot Box.JPG

Ivana Tufegzik [see video on her here] arrived at the Student Parliament premises together with other students, professor and supporters to ask where the ballot boxes are. But, the door of the Student Parliament for this student remained closed, even after the police officers arrived at the premises and open conversations with the students.

Later, persons with white T-shirts and blue signs arrived with several, but not all, ballot boxes, while riot police, which was waiting at the Boulevard “St. Clement” arrived at the Student Parliament’s entrance. And the following video [see here] shows the riot police officers are removing the students from their sit-in protest and waiting for the doors to be open. It was not clear on which ask the riot police intervened, as this video here shows regular police trying to hear the reason for the protest.

Situation calmed down for one hour and become more tense after the students herd that those who waited locked at the common premises for students are trying to left the building. At that moment, riot police prevented more serious escalation and the possibility for the fights between two groups of students.

The situation calmed after 2:00 a.m. early Friday, with several claims for bruises in the scuffles between riot police and members of the Student Plenum. One of the remarks of the Student Plenum on Thursday was that the voting takes place without voting booths. [see explanation what the voting booths are]

Reactions: 

Youth Educational Forum requires complete annulment of the student elections, by the outgoing university rector, Velimir Stojkovski and future  university rector, Nikola Jankulovski and seek for these elections condemnations by the entire academic community.

Professors plenum strongly condemns the way the elections took place yesterday for the new president of the Student Parliament. Professors plenum members are shocked by the fact that voting was not interrupted despite the faults:

  • Lack of the electoral list as the primary instrument for the voting;
  • Lack of the voting booths to make sure secrecy of the voting;
  • Involvement of persons who are neither employed, or students at the universities
  • Violent seizure of the ballot boxes, their dislocation without counting the ballots

Young European Federalists Macedonia condemns police brutality by members of the Rapid Deployment Unit on supporters and members of the Student Plenum yesterday, who peacefully expressed their anger against the irregularities .

 

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