Mar 30, 2009

Who were the counter-protesters and where did they come from?

A new article on BalkanInsight provides additional information about the counter-protesters:

"The people supporting the building of the church claimed they spontaneously decided to come to Skopje from other towns across Macedonia to express their support for the church. It remains unclear who organised the buses that brought them to the capital and the numerous printed leaflets calling for a counter-demonstration one hour before the students' protest. The previous evening, a local TV show host had called for people to attend the counter-protest to the demonstration organised by 'gays and atheists'".

The actual objectives of the initiative are described as follows:

"The First Archi-Brigade points out in its press statement that their protest had no political dimension, but was simply aimed against the evident "regression in the field of architecture“ that the capital has experienced during the past years. They argue that the church, which the government plans to build in one of the most frequented pedestrian places in the city, would choke the space there and would not fit in with already existing modern architiecture. This is just the latest in a number of recently-disputed capital projects, they point out."

The article moreover mentions the concerns of Skopje mayor Kostovski over the project and the state's reaction to the protest, as well as Prime Minister Gruevski's promise that, a government project, "construction would begin in the next few months".

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