By Associated Press Writer
updated 5/10/2010 11:36:52 AM ET 2010-05-10T15:36:52

Some 4,000 ethnic Albanians protested in Macedonia's capital against alleged discrimination, nine years after a power-sharing deal averted a civil war.

After gathering outside the country's Supreme Court, marchers carrying red-and-black Albanian national flags filed peacefully past parliament and the main government building.

The rally was organized by a group representing 40 ethnic Albanian non-governmental and civic organizations. The groups claim Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski's conservative government is discriminating against ethnic Albanians "on ethnic and religious grounds."

The government denies the allegations.

Ethnic Albanians make up a quarter of Macedonia's 2.1 million population. An armed uprising by ethnic Albanians in 2001 left about 80 people dead, and ended after international mediation secured more rights for the minority.

But ethnic Albanian leaders say many government guarantees have been ignored.

Arben Xhaferi, a former leader and now honorary president of the Democratic Party of Albanians, said in an AP interview last month that the government had made "a mockery" of its commitments to the minority.

Monday's protest took place after Macedonia's border police seized a large cache of weapons following a shootout with unidentified gunmen near the country's frontier with Kosovo.

The National Liberation Army, a former ethnic Albanian rebel group, claimed responsibility for the shootout — raising fears of renewed instability in the ethnically tense former Yugoslav republic.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments