May 6, 2015

Demonstrations in front of the Government for the cover-up of the murder of Martin Neshkoski

The Helsinki Committee had representatives present on the civil protest in front of the Government of Republic of Macedonia in which the citizens again expressed their revolt for the lack of accountability for the murder of Martin Neshkovski. The protest started at 18:00hrs with spontaneous gathering of citizens’ trough previous communication via social networks. Up until 20:30hrs, the protest was without any major incidents and clashes between the citizens and the Police. The first major clashes with the Police began around 22:00hrs. Then, the Police began to push away all the citizens that ware in front of the Government.

The Helsinki Committee noted that the Police used unproportioned and excessive force. Police officers didn’t limit their use of force only towards those citizen that ware aggressive towards them, but they were beating and stepping on all of the citizens, while large part of them ware sitting on the ground and hade their hands raised in the air. Right after, the Police started to apprehend and take participants of the protest in police custody. During the apprehension, the Police again used nondiscriminatory, unproportioned and excessive force. The apprehension continued even when citizens ware no longer participating in the protest and they were leaving to their homes. This is substantiated by the fact that at 23:30, the Police entered by force in several objects, among which the library “Brakja Miladinovci”, and again, used unproportioned and excessive force against all the young people that were present, under the excuse that a part of them allegedly participated in the protest.

According to the information available to the Committee, in yesterday’s incidents more than forty people were taken into police custody, most of which are still detained in several police stations in Skopje. The representatives of the Committee noted that a large part of the detained ware not a part of the group that clashed with the Police, and a part of them didn’t participated in the protest at all.

The Helsinki Committee condemns the excessive use of force by the Police and the aggressive behavior of a part of the participants in the protest. The Committee calls upon the Police to respect and fully protest the right of citizens of public assembly and expression of thought, and calls upon the citizens to practice their right in a peaceful and nonviolent manner. Also, the Committee calls upon all citizens that were taken into police custody and/or were subjected to excessive use of force to contact the office of the Committee for documentation of all the cases and provision of appropriate legal aid.