Macedonia Ruling Party 'Coordinated' Parliament Violence, Trial Hears

A key defendant in the trial of those involved in last year's attack on the Macedonian parliament has claimed the ruling party organised the whole event from the eighth floor of its Skopje headquarters.

The defendant, Aleksandar Vasilevski "Ninja" said the entire event was prepared and coordinated by then high-ranking officials in the then ruling VMRO DPMNE party.

In his testimony to the Skopje Criminal Court that lasted for two hours, Vasilevski alleged that former government secretary general Kiril Bozinovski, former uniformed police chief Mitko Cavkov, former deputy justice minister Biljana Briskovska, former transport Minister Mile Janakieski and others were all part of the command structure.

Cavkov and Briskovska are also among the 30 defendants in this case, while Bozinovski and Janakieski are in detention for other, unrelated cases instigated by the Special Prosecution.

Vasilevski said that these four persons issued the commands and were coordinating activities on the ground on April 27, 2017, when supporters of VMRO DPMNE stormed the parliament building and injured some 100 people in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the election of a new speaker and the formation of a new government.

He said they were part of the "command and operative HQ of VMRO DPMNE" and that on the day of the violence they were stationed on the eighth floor of the VMRO DPMNE building in central Skopje.

Vasilevski, who claimed to have visited this headquarters on the day of the violence to receive instructions, claimed nobody but him had the chance to directly see where the orders were coming from.

He said the drift towards violence began with the launch of a series of pro-government protests, called "For United Macedonia",...

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