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Protesters storm Macedonia's parliament

Protesters stormed into Macedonia's parliament and assaulted the leader of the Social Democrats after his party and ethnic Albanian allies voted to elect an Albanian as parliament speaker. Around 200 demonstrators, many wearing masks, broke through a police cordon and entered Macedonia’s parliament, attacking MPs in protest at the election of a new speaker despite a months-long deadlock in talks to form a new government. The protesters stormed parliament on Thursday night after the country’s opposition Social Democrat party and others representing Macedonia’s Albanian ethnic minority voted for a new speaker. Shouting and throwing chairs, the protesters attacked MPs, including the opposition leader, Zoran Zaev.

Television footage showed Zaev bleeding from the forehead and other Social Democrat MPs surrounded by protesters waving national flags, shouting “traitors” and refusing to allow them to leave. Broken glass littered the floor and traces of blood were seen in hallways. Police later fired flash grenades in an attempt to disperse protesters outside the parliament and clear the way for the evacuation of politicians still in the building. In a televised address, the country’s president, Gjorge Ivanov, called for calm and said he had summoned the leaders of the country’s main political parties for a meeting on Friday. Ivanov said the constitution had been been violated and appealed “for reasonable and responsible behaviour”.

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