Tense political situation and protests in Macedonia

Protests have been occurring in Macedonia by supporters of the former ruling party against a possible new coalition government following a December 11, 2016, general election. Thousands turned out for a rally in Skopje on Tuesday. Protests also occurred in other towns, including Bitola, Prilep, Kicevo, Kumanovo and Stip. Reporters were attacked and have been hospitalized. Some fear the demonstrations will become increasingly violent.

A long-running political crisis has kept Macedonia in political limbo for two years, and has raised ethnic tensions. The Macedonia Opposition leader has accused the president of an attempted coup because of his refusal to accept the mandate to form a new government. There are fears that escalating ethnic violence in Macedonia could bring more conflict to the Balkan region.

Advice For Travellers

To minimize safety risk, avoid all large public gatherings and demonstrations if travelling in Macedonia. Even peaceful gatherings can quickly and unexpectedly escalate and become violent.