Macedonian Police Clash With Youths After Killings

By RFE/RL's Balkan Service
SKOPJE -- Macedonian riot police have clashed with stone-throwing youths angry at the murder last week of five men near the capital, Skopje.

Authorities have not given a motive for the killings of the five men from Macedonia's Slavic-speaking majority, but speculation has focused on tensions with the ethnic Albanian minority.

Several hundred youths protested in the main square of Skopje and in front of parliament on April 16, chanting nationalist and anti-Albanian slogans.

Police later prevented the youths from marching across a bridge to a mainly Albanian area of the capital.

Relations between Macedonians and ethnic Albanians remain high following a 2001 armed conflict between government security forces and ethnic Albanian rebels.

Authorities in Skopje and Western governments have appealed for calm amid concerns that the April 13 killings could further increase tensions.
With reporting by Reuters