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11 arrested, dozens of police hurt in North Macedonia protests over EU deal

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Protesters argue with police officers in front of the Parliament building in Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia, on July 5, 2022.

PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SKOPJE (BLOOMBERG) – Police arrested 11 people and 47 officers were injured during protests in North Macedonia against a deal with neighbouring Bulgaria that seeks to unlock European Union accession talks.

Thousands rallied late on Tuesday (July 5) in Skopje, the capital, against the agreement which, according to the nationalist opposition, does not guarantee the recognition of the country’s language and national identity.

Protesters threw rocks, eggs, Molotov cocktails and traffic signs against public buildings and broke several windows, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

North Macedonia’s EU accession progress has been blocked by neighbouring Bulgaria over a dispute involving history and language.

The EU has offered a negotiation framework designed to end the spat that Bulgaria backed in June.

If North Macedonia’s Parliament approves the agreement, it may start accession talks within days, EU Council President Charles Michel said during a visit in Skopje on Tuesday.

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