Organizations that were part of Zoran Zaev’s Colored Revolution protests, such as the Civil group, announced they will hold events today to mark the 5th anniversary of one of the largest and most violent protests.
In 2016, the leftist protesters burnt down the downtown office of President Gjorge Ivanov and clashed with the police, after President Ivanov tried to put an end to the political crisis by issuing pardons to dozens of politicians that faced various charges. This was used by Zaev to rev up the protests, which turned into near riots as dozens of police were injured.
The charges were the result of the release of thousands of wiretaps, apparently recorded by rogue intelligence officers and given to Zaev who inisted that they contain evidence of crimes and corruption on the part of the Nikola Gruevski led Government. The allegations were used to provoke large protests, but most of them were later debunked, or were proven to be the result of edited tapes. Gruevski was sentenced for a mundane purchase of an armored vehicle and received political asylum in Hungary. Former Interior Minister Gordana Jankuloska was also sentenced for the same purchase, while former UBK security service chief Saso Mijalkov was sentenced for allegedly ordering the wiretapping – although not before briefly fleeing the country in apparent coordination with Zaev who is his political ally at the moment.
The Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva, who worked with Zaev to press the charges against VMRO officials, is herself sentenced to seven years in prison for using one of the cases to extort money from businessman, and Zaev remains in power while facing almost daily corruption scandals and criminal revelations. He did impose a name change on Macedonia which resulted in the country being admitted to NATO while the promised EU prospects remain stuck as relations with neighboring Bulgaria spiral downwards. Many of the Colored Revolution activists now work for the Government and in fact the names of a number of them are expected to be released this very day, after public outcry forced Zaev to reveal the names of his secret advisers and part time cabinet employees. As a result, the movement has not protested Zaev’s own corruption scandals, and only resurfaces when there are new developments regarding the years old allegations against Gruevski.