An Appeal for Peace and Tolerance, Against Violence

“It’s not about you; it’s about us, the citizens!”, was the joint message of the nongovernmental organizations and citizens who rallied in Skopje to ask publicly for an end to the violence and hooliganism and responsibility from the competent authorities to calm the situation.

Civil – Center for Freedom and its partners and friends, over 15 nongovernmental organizations, as well as peace-loving people, citizens, rallied today in the centre of Skopje, at the monument of Mother Teresa, to publicly condemn the direct and brutal violence that was lately on the rise.

Through the street rally, titled “Press4peace” (Pressure for Peace), in the presence of many media, together we expressed a severe condemnation of the hooliganism, and at the same time we called for responsibility by the governmental institutions.

An Appeal for Peace and Tolerance, Against Violence

We stressed that the Government has at its disposal all instruments which could improve the interethnic relations and prevent the escalation of hatred and violence.

We asked for a demonstration of a sincere political will from the political parties and institutions on a national and local level to deal with the roots of the conflicts on various grounds, in this case the multiethnic conflict. “They also have to be responsible for the growing interethnic gap. The point is not just to calm the situation that was brought about by the wrong policies of these very institutions”.

“It’s high time to begin a sincere dialogue and take the right measures for confidence-building. Immediately!” – was one of the messages by the organizers and participants on the protest against violence and dirty political games.

Last but not least, an important cause for our protest is the fact that in these horrifying incidents, many of the participants, and victims of the violence are minors.

“This is unacceptable and has to stop at once! Spare the children and youths from the dangerous and dirty political games, because they deserve more!” – we pointed out.

Besides the support we received from many nongovernmental organizations and associations throughout Macedonia, our protest and street rally would not have been so impressive and powerful without the presence of Vlatko Risteski, a civil activist from ODRAZ (Organization for Democratic Reaction and Partnership of Associations).  Loudly and confidently, through the city streets, across the Stone Bridge and the entire Skopje Old Bazaar, he sent the following message in one breath:

- “People, friends, Albanians and Macedonians, Muslims and Christians, we are all the same!  I am Vlatko from Prilep, and you are my friends! Let’s not allow them to divide us!”, his words reverberated at every step as he shook hands with the old craftsmen, tea house owners, artisans and random passersby.

The nongovernmental organizations and other participants at these “street rally”, on the spot, through the media, but also through direct communication with citizens, whom they met on their march from Mother Teresa’s monument to the centre of the Skopje Old Bazaar, sent a message to those in charge of the situation in the country that they want peace.

Our joint message was: “It’s not about you; it’s about us, the citizens!”

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