While the US Congress and the criminal justice system are pursuing responsibility for those involved in the January uprising at the Capitol in Washington, a court in northern Macedonia has sentenced several former officials for their role in an assault on parliament in Skopje in 2017.
Both legislative attacks were aimed at disrupting the democratic process. Rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers gathered to confirm the results of President Joe Biden’s election victory over President Donald Trump.
The attack in Skopje involved protesters who supported the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party to prevent the election of a new parliamentary speaker, and that they were opposed to a proposed coalition government between the Social Democratic Party and ethnic Albanian parties.
Protesters attack Macedonian lawmakers after Albanian was elected speaker
Numerous protesters, many wearing masks, broke a police cordon and entered Macedonia’s parliament late on Thursday, attacking lawmakers to protest the election of a new speaker, despite a month-long deadlock in talks to form a new government. . country opposition Social Democrats and parties representing the ethnic Albanian minority of Macedonia voted for a new speaker.
Among those sentenced on Monday are former speaker Trajko Veljanoski, former senior intelligence official Vladimir Atanasovski, and ministers Mile Janakieski and Spiro Ristovski.
The officials were all from the VMRO-DPMNE party, and their sentences range from six years to six and a half years on charges of threatening the constitutional order and security.
The court said Veljanoski deliberately entered a lengthy debate on the day of the assault while Janakieski and Ristovski were communicating with protest organizers outside.
Zoran Zaev, who at the time led the Social Democrats and is now prime minister, accuses the attackers of attempted murder. Zaev was injured in the assault, along with dozens of journalists and lawmakers.
A judge said Monday when he declared the verdict that organizing an intrusion by the legislature and attacking legislators is not democracy or patriotism.
Former VMRO-DPMNE leader and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski was also accused of being one of the organizers of the attack, but did not face trial. He resigned in 2016 after ten years in power, and after being sentenced to two years in prison on charges of corruption, he fled to Hungary, where he was granted political asylum.
Gruevski said at the time of the attack that he regretted the violence and that the other parties were responsible for inciting the attack by trying to carry out a power attack.
Some information for this report comes from Associated Press and AFP