Georgi Vlajkinoski from Vevcani said that he is being investigated by the police and threatened with a year in prison for taking part in the annual Vevcani carnival. The charges come after the police raided the ancient Vevcani carnival on Wednesday, for alleged coronavirus violations.

After four hours of interrogation in the Struga police station, I was given three misdemeanor charges and one criminal charge, Vlajkinoski said.

Over his social media account, he informed that the charges are linked to coronavirus violations, obstructing a police officer and unlawful recording. Hundreds of people gathered in Vevcani to parade in the carnival. Those that were part of the procession were wearing masks as by default, while footage showed that most of the observers of the event that takes place in the open were also wearing face masks.

Several of the participants are also likely to be charged with defaming a foreign country after they burnt the Bulgarian flag. The carnival traditionally lampoons Macedonian and foreign politicians, and with Bulgaria vetoing Macedonia’s EU accession talks and imposing humiliating demands on the country, it was inevitable that a number of the masks portrayed Bulgarian politicians. The flag was burnt after the police intervention, when tensions in the village were running high.