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Four protesters detained outside parliament building

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Macedonian police have arrested several people protesting against constitutional changes outside parliament building in Skopje. They had allegedly tried to jump the fence and storm into the building, prompting a ramp-up of security at the parameter.

According to unofficial reports, four protesters who tried to breach the outer perimeter fence surrounding the parliament were arrested Wednesday night shortly after the adjournment of parliament sitting.

Speaking to the crowds, Dragan Ugrinovski, one of organizers of protests demanding an immediate halt to amendment process for name change, described the rally as successful day for not allowing the MPs vote on constitutional change.

“This is success day for Macedonia, we did not let them vote and endorse what they intended to. And because they failed to deliver their plan, they wanted to provoke us with the riot police,” Ugrinovski said.

Makedonija blokira, the group standing behind Wednesday’s protest, said they will rally again on Thursday at 12:00, an hour before the follow-up sitting of parliament.

On Wednesday, VMRO-DPMNE’s MPs walked out of parliament session on constitutional changes and joined the protest rally in front of parliament. The party leader, Hristijan Mickovski, also joined the protesters bud declined to deliver a speech.

The parliament is set to resume the constitutional amendment debate today at 13:00.

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Macedonia

Healthcare workers stage protest over workplace assaults

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Medical professionals in Skopje have rallied to protest over growing safety concerns at work after  doctors and nurses were assaulted.

Scores of healthcare workers gathered Wednesday at the yard of Clinics Center (hospital compound) during their 30-minute break Wednesday, to protest against what they see as unprecedented violence by patients and patients’ relatives.

The protesting doctors claim workplace violence is a serious phenomenon in health care settings. The healthcare workers are at high risk of such violence, they say, urging the authorities to immediately address the frequency of physical violence against health personnel.

Leadership of Clinics Center unionists called on the union members to join the “Stop Violence Against Violence” protest in high numbers.

The unionists say the violence against healthcare personnel [doctors and nurses] is reminiscence of past, but warn that “the incumbent minister of health Venko Filipce did nothing to prevent it”.

Workplace violence is referred to any incident or situation in which a person in his workplace or work-related circumstances is subjected to mistreatment, threats, or aggression. Over the past nine months, there were 15 physical assaults on healthcare workers, of which two occurred last week.

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Macedonia

Corruption watchdog calls for cancelling lease contract for premises of ex-presidents Ivanov and Crvenkovski

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The National Anti-Corruption Commission has requested termination of the lease or rental agreement between the government and two former presidents, Gjorgje Ivanov and Branko Crvenkovski.

“We hereby inform you that at its 22nd meeting, the National Commission for Prevention of Corruption decided on a case launched on its own initiative regarding the rights and privileges enjoyed by former heads of state after leaving the office,” corruption watchdog said in the press release Tuesday.

“Today’s decisions apply to all former presidents and the request to terminate the leases applies to both former presidents,” it adds.

Both former President Gjorge Ivanov and his predecessor Branko Crvenkovski enjoy executive privileges. In addition to rental (leased premises), the state covers the salaries of three employees of Ivanov and Crvenkovski. Furthermore, they are provided with state vehicle and a driver.

The Anti-Corruption Commission says it will urge the Government’s Office for General Affairs to terminate the lease agreement for premises of the former presidents. They are currently entitled to leased premises after expiration of the term of office.

In a comment of Commission’s decision, former head of state Gjorgje Ivanov says Commission’s chairperson Biljana Ivanovska is manipulating the public. He claims the price of leased premises is EUR 1.950 per month. The Commission, on the other hand, claims the monthly rent price is EUR 4.500.

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Macedonia

Butikofer calls on EU to open accession talks with North Macedonia

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European Greens Co-Chair Reinhard Butikofer in a post on Twitter welcomed the remarks by President of European Council Donald Tusk after his meeting with Macedonian officials during a visit to Skopje.

“Tusk is right in calling for opening EU membership talks with North Macedonia: EU must now do its share, as Tusk said, because North Macedonia has already done its share,” Reinhard Butikofer, a Member of the European Parliament (Greens/EFA) and Co-Chair of the European Green Party (EGP), tweeted on Tuesday.

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