VMRO-DPMNE President Hristijan Mickoski shared a video of the brutal police raid earlier this month on the village of Vevcani, where the traditional carnival was taking place.

We must not forget, Mickoski said, as he shared footage of officers rounding up the citizens of Vevcani, for alleged coronavirus violations.

The video shows officers rounding up people for participating in the ancient custom, which included wearing masks long before the epidemic. The raid was highly selective – police officers did not similarly go after other religious or other gatherings. It was likely meant to discourage the villagers of Vevcani from wearing masks that could be seen as insulting to neighboring countries – as one of the purposes of the carnival is to mock those in power, in Macedonia or abroad – especially if they are infringing on Macedonia in some way. Angered by the police raid, a day after the incident carnival goers held their processions and some of them burnt the Bulgarian flag.