Relatives of the islamists who were sentenced to life in prison for carrying out the 2012 Good Friday massacre threatened protests and even war today. after the sentencing.

This is no rule of law. We will have protests and we call on the leaders of the state to protest with us. We demand that political parties support us, and distance themselves from this sentence. We will protest on Friday and it will be kind of a war. We are here, we will fight with all our means and we will act, said Bedri Ajdari, relative of one of the defendants.

The court today re-issued life sentences to the three Albanian Muslim killers who carried out he massacre of four Macedonian Christian boys and one man, in an apparent attempt to spark a civil war. The original sentencing was in 2014, but a retrial took place after Zoran Zaev insisted that he has new evidence that will present the case in a completely different light. Zaev and media outlets close to him strongly implied that the suspected killers – two of whom fled to Kosovo and have been at large since 2012 – were not the actual killers but that the boys were somehow murdered by the then ruling VMRO-DPMNE party. Such conspiracy theories helped Zaev grab power and they moved Albanian voters toward him and closed options for VMRO to form a coalition with Albanian parties. But during the retrial, Zaev admitted that he never had any evidence to offer, and a prosecutor loyal to Zaev, and an ethnic Albanian – Fatime Fetai – again asked for the maximum sentence. Even the judge who was assigned to the case, Ognen Stavrev, is a die-hard SDSM supporter and was called out by former VMRO leader Nikola Gruevski for his “pathological hatred of VMRO“. Still he could do nothing but confirm the sentence.

Still, given the years of reckless conspiracy theories that Zaev spread about the case, Albanian activists, the families of the islamists and some of the political parties are calling for protests. One round of protests, aimed at Zaev and Fetai, took place last month. The next round should be on Friday, after the Muslim prayers.