North Macedonia: 47 police officers injured in protests
“We all know very well who is behind the protests and who called for them,” Spasovski said.
The minister said police had “operational information” that attacks with Molotov cocktails on state buildings were also being planned for another protest scheduled for Wednesday night, and urged protesters to refrain from violence.
Bulgaria, which as an EU member has veto powers over new members, wants North Macedonia to formally recognize its language has Bulgarian roots, to recognize a Bulgarian minority in the country and to quash “hate speech” against Bulgaria. Many in North Macedonia say acquiescing would undermine their national identity.
Bulgaria has already formally accepted the French proposal, which now requires the backing of North Macedonia’s parliament. Lawmakers are set to convene on Thursday to set up a committee that will look into the issue. No plenary session has yet been scheduled.
The center-right main opposition party VMRO-DPMNE, many international law experts and civic organizations claim that the French proposal favors Bulgarian demands which dispute Macedonian views of regional history, language, identity and heritage.
North Macedonia has been a candidate for EU membership for 17 years. The country received a green light in 2020 to begin accession talks, but no date for the start of the negotiations has been set.