Ethnic Albanians, Orthodox clash over massive cross in Macedonia

Some policemen sustained injuries when Orthodox Christians clashed with ethnic Albanians in the Macedonian capital Skopje over the erection of a 55-metre-high metal cross, media reports said Saturday.

Hundreds of Orthodox Christians tried to drive back Albanian Macedonians who had gathered late Friday at the site where the cross is to be located.

There was a strong police presence to keep the two sides apart. Officers were pelted with stones.

The massive cross is in response to a huge double eagle, the national symbol of Albania, that had been erected in a neighbouring district of the city. There have been previous clashes over the plan.

Civil unrest broke out between ethic Albanians and Slavs in the former Yugoslav republic 15 years ago. Albanians are estimated to make up around 30 per cent of the 2 million population of Macedonia.

The tiny Balkan country, which has closed its borders to the wave of migrants from Greece hoping to head northwards towards richer Western European countries, is experiencing political turmoil.

Snap elections have been called for June 5 to try and resolve the political tensions.

Last update: Sat, 05/03/2016 - 10:53

More from Balkan

Investigators question Serb entity referendum commission chair

The chairman of a commission which organised an unlawful referendum in the Bosnian Serb entity on September 25 was...

Bosnia and Iran to strengthen economic ties

Bosnia and Herzegovina will strengthen economic ties with Iran and measures will follow to change the current strict...

Serbia arrests people suspected of illegal activities against Montenegro

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on Monday evening that a few people had been arrested in Serbia in...

Serbia, Slovenia want stronger economic cooperation, PMs say

Slovenia and Serbia are satisfied with their political relations and it is the interest and will of both to advance...

Serb entity parliament marks 25th anniversary of self-styled assembly

The Bosnian Serb entity authorities on Monday organised an event commemorating the 25th anniversary of the...