Activists of the “Colorful Revolution” movement have announced a new demonstration planned to take plan in front of the parliament building in Skopje on Monday, September 28, in support of the Special Prosecutor's Office (SPO).
After months of preparation and no small amount of time lost to legalistic sabotages and obstructions by the ruling parties, VMRO-DPMNE and DUI, Macedonia's special prosecutor finally pressed charges against top ruling party officials and state authorities in two cases launched on September 15.
As explained by Special Prosecutor Fatime Fetai, one indictment concerns the destruction of documents related to illegal wiretapping equipment, while the other indictment concerns violence outside the Centar municipality, which occurred in June 2013.
In 2015, Macedonia's political opposition published a selection of leaked audio recordings that suggest the country's intelligence services had illegally wiretapped a range of people. In the conversations, some of the country's ruling elite seem to implicate themselves in acts of corruption. One such instance was the 2013 mob violence in Centar, which happened while the local council was debating a zoning issue that would affect top politicians’ profit margins. In one of the leaked recordings, Macedonia's then-prime minister can be heard allegedly admitting that the mob was organized on his orders.
The revelations accelerated an already simmering political crisis, and the SPO was formed as part of an European Union and United States-brokered agreement to bring an end to the stalemate.
Lawmakers’ efforts to delay the proceedings have continued, including asking SPO chief Katica Janeva a barrage of diversionary questions at her recent annual report presentation, including demands that she account for minute details in office expense reports. During formal sessions, members of parliament have also openly insulted and threatened her, in an apparent attempt to intimidate her into dropping the charges against the ruling parties.
“You have kept me here for three days deliberately and will not let me work. For three days, I've sat here and answered the same questions. You are deliberately keeping me here so that I can not work,” Janeva told Member of Parliament Krste Mukoski, who accused the SPO chief of being incompetent and not knowing how to run her agency, Meta.mk reported.
Many of the members of parliament in question have a clear conflict of interest, considering that their voices can be heard in a published sample of the leaked wiretaps, which serve as evidence in the SPO's investigation.
After the first day of the hearings, deputies from VMRO-DPMNE and DUI banned live television coverage, despite apparent legal requirements that the session remain open to the public. Meanwhile, Janeva has endured the hearings, despite reported health problems.
— Batakoja (@batakoja) September 24, 2016
Record of crime will not disappear just because the prosecutor wore a lace top. #PutCriminalsInJail
Harassing Janeva might have backfired, however, cultivating the public perception that lawmakers are acting like “hysterical bullies” and shaming the country.
In the mainstream media, largely controlled by the ruling parties, the SPO has been the target of relentlessly negative coverage.
Едно сиже од птичја перспектива за овие 2 дена: се изнагледавме одвратна карикатура на парламент. Институција која дпмне ја усовршува 10 год
— 42 (@forty_tw0) September 23, 2016
A bird's-eye view summary of these two days: we could see a repulsive caricature of a parliament. An institution perfected by DPMNE over the last ten years.
Janeva's supporters have eagerly promoted the demonstration planned by the “Colorful Revolution” movement, sharing information about the event since Friday, September 23, and sharing it hundreds of times among each other on Facebook:
Соборци и соборки,
Ве повикуваме во Понеделник, на 26.09.2016, во 17 часот пред Собранието на Република Македонија на јавен собир за поддршка на СЈО.
По летните одмори, СЈО повторно е под каконада на режимските глсноговорници. Периодов во Собранието и по медиумите под контрола на обвинетиот груевски можеме да забележиме вистински линч и пропаганда против Катица Јанева и целото СЈО.
Истовремено, власта со кој се уште управува обвинетиот груевски ја користи секоја прилика за да ја блокира работата на оваа институција.
Судиите од тефтерот на горде продолжуваат да ги одбиваат барањата за притвор, го укинаа единственото кое беше прифатено и го вратија едниот Обвинителен предлог кој СЈО го поднесе до кривичното одделение, поради причина која не им е проблем кога постапуваат по предметите на зврлевски.
Уставниот суд се уште нема закажано седница на која ќе се разгледува Иницијативата за уставноста на СЈО.
Пратениците од ДПМНЕ одбиваат секаква поддршка за СЈО. Одбиваат да ги донесат потребните законски измени за заштита на сведоци и свиркачи, одбиваат да го продолжат рокот за работење на СЈО, а собраниската говорница ја користат исклучиво за дискредитација на Катица Јанева и институцијата која ја претставува.
Владата зад која се уште стои обвинетиот груевски, продолжува да остава на високи функции луѓе кои се под истрага за сериозни кривични дела од страна на СЈО.
На СЈО повторно му е потребна нашата помош. Не смееме да дозволиме режимот да помисли дека оваа институција барем за момент е без силната, здружена и одлучна поддршка на граѓаните!
Се додека нема правда, НЕМА ДА ИМА МИР!!!
Dear brothers and sisters-in-arms,
We call upon you to gather at 5:00 p.m. on September 26, 2016, in front of the Assembly of Republic of Macedonia for a public rally in support of the SPO.
After the summer holidays, SPO is again under a barrage of fire by the regime's mouthpieces. We're witnessing a true lynching of and propaganda against Katica Janeva and the whole SPO in the Assembly and the media under control of the indicted Gruevski.
Simultaneously, the government still ruled by the indicted Gruevski uses all opportunities to block the work of this institution.
The corrupt judges who owe their posts to the ruling party refuse the SPO's requests for detention of suspects. They also suspended the single house arrest of SPO suspect and the refused to proceed with criminal prosecution in another case, citing reasons that have not been a problem when responding to the cases of the [non-special] Public Prosecutor Zvrlevski.
The Constitutional Court has still not scheduled a session to decide on the constitutionality of the SPO.
The MPs of [VMRO-]DPMNE refuse to provide any support to the SPO. They refuse to adopt the necessary legislation for the protection of witnesses and whistleblowers; they refuse to extend the deadline for its mandate; and they use the parliament's pulpit for their attempts to discredit Katica Janeva and the institutions she represents.
The government, which still stands behind the indicted Gruevski, continues to appoint persons under investigation by the SPO to high public offices.
The SPO needs our help again. We must not let the regime think that this is institution, even for a moment, is left without the strong, joint, and decisive support by the citizens!
As long as there's no justice, there will be no peace!
According to a poll in April conducted by the US-government-funded International Republican Institute, 63 percent of the nation supported the work being carried out by the Special Prosecutor's Office.