Thursday, August 29, 2013

FYROM Muslims Oppose Const. of Orth. Church; Muslim Clerics Fuel Protest, Police Guard Const.

Police are monitoring the situation in the village of Oktisi near Struga in southwestern FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) where last weekend ethnic Albanian Muslims prevented a ground-breaking ceremony for a small Greek Orthodox Church being built by ethnic Macedonians, the Balkan Insight website reports today (August 29, 2013). "The situation is calm, but our patrols are vigilant," a police spokesperson said.

Media reported that last Saturday evening, local Muslim clerics used evening prayers to call believers to protest the next morning against the construction of the church.

On Sunday, more than 100 ethnic Albanians gathered at the construction site and prevented the first ground being broken for the construction of the small church dedicated to St. Demetrius.

A police cordon prevented occasional scuffles between villagers from turning into a major fight, Macedonian news media reported. "We have been deprived of our basic human right to walk freely on this Macedonian land," local Greek Orthodox priest Zoran told media after the incident.

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