Protesters were prohibited from attending the previously announced demonstration in front of the VMRO Museum, by police authorities, mainly special forces equipped with helmets and shields, encountering and pushing protesters with expanded batons.
Several members of the regular and special police forces prevented a few hundred citizens, mostly journalists and activists today from expressing their protest in front of the VMRO Museum on the penalty verdict for journalist Kezharovski.
The police, mostly special forces equipped with helmets, shields and batons, blocked all entrances to the museum and by forming a cordon, stopped the protesters at approximately one hundred meters from the location at which the protest was announced to be held.
Even though the protest was announced beforehand, journalists and others were prevented from getting near the building of the VMRO Museum, initially by fences placed at the entrance accesses, as well as being physically stopped by policemen, through confronting, pushing with shields and expanded batons.
Calling out “Freedom, freedom!” “Police state!” and other similar statements, the protesters expressed their repulsion of the treatment of journalists by the government. At the end of the protest, dressed in black, mouths closed, the journalists in front of the police cordon lighted candles for Macedonian journalism, while cameramen and photo reporters laid their cameras on the ground, declaring symbolically that the country has stepped into media darkness.
Today’s protest was the first following the announcement of the draconian 4-½ year prison sentence for Kezharovski, after a few previous protests that were held, requesting his release from jail custody, where he was detained for five months.
The advisory board for the release of Kezharovski, which called for the protest at 12.05pm, announced that they would continue to demand the releasing of Kezharovski in ways similar to today’s protest.