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Protesters condemn ethnic violence in Macedonia

Associated Press

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) – About 2,000 people marched peacefully in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, on Saturday to protest a wave of violence that erupted earlier this month between ethnic Macedonian and ethnic Albanian youths.

Representatives of more than 70 civic organizations and NGOs joined public figures, intellectuals and journalists marching under the motto “March for peace” to show concern over the ethnic incidents, which left at least 14 people wounded in the last two weeks.

During several days of rioting, youths attacked buses and used iron bars, knives and baseball bats in street fights.

Ethnic tension has been simmering in Macedonia since the end of an armed rebellion in 2001, when ethnic Albanian rebels fought government forces for about eight months, seeking greater rights for their community.

Ethnic Albanians, mostly Muslim, make up a quarter of Macedonia’s population of 2.1 million. The country is majority Christian Orthodox.

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