Macedonians Take to the Streets Against Bulgarian Nationalist Demands

Thousands of Macedonians protested across the country against nationalist demands made by the Bulgarian government that the Macedonian government would be forced to accept in order to continue its attempts to enter the European Union. Some provisions included forcing Macedonians to ‘acknowledge that they are Bulgarian’ and to claim Bulgaria was not on the side of the Axis powers during World War II.

Flag of The Left party.

Demonstrations also took a face against Prime Minister Zoran Zaev after he effectively capitulated to Bulgarian demands, and has generally been known as a politician despised by both the left and right wings of Macedonia. Zaev had also stated his intentions to erase ASNOM (Antifascist assembly for the National Liberation of Macedonia, World War II government that established socialist Macedonia within Yugoslavia), from the constitution, causing a surge of unpopularity.

About 50-60% of the protesters are affiliated with the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, while about 10-20% belong to the far-left party simply named ‘The Left’, recently founded in November 2015. Despite the protests being started by VMRO-DPMNE, they have called for people of every ideology to join in calling on Zaev to resign.

Protests on the 26th were largely characterized as different due to the fact that a majority of demonstrators remained in their cars, and instead blockaded major roads in Skopje and other cities.

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