When I woke up on Saturday morning, the alley behind my apartment was filled with poorly-designed flyers. They were in support of the building of a Macedonian Orthodox Church on the main public square in Skopje, giving such compelling arguments as "The Square is an unfinished area of the City" and "Every European square has a Church. We should too." On the back was a picture of Jesus, and the quote, "Forgive them father, they know not what they do."
This flyer was meant to rally people to the square that morning in support of the building of the church, as opponents of a church-on-the-square were holding their own rally. From what I understand, the opponents were students from the Faculty of Architecture, and opposed to the location, rather than the church itself.
A little background information: The Macedonian government pays to build Orthodox churches and giant crosses on top of mountains. This is naturally irritating to the Muslim Albanians, who I doubt recieve any money from the government to build their mosques (most of the money comes from abroad) and to those people who would prefer money be spent on things like education and health care. This new church is being built on an already-crowded square, in a location where both mosques and churches have previously existed. And, on an aesthetic note, the construction wall blocks the main cafe-bar area from views of the river.
So, a handful of students from the Faculty of Architecture show up for a peaceful protest, and somebody trucks in several hundred counter-protesters from outside of Skopje. Violence ensued, of course. Eric has an excellent post about it. Balkan Insight's editorial is here. Justin recently wrote about the interesting identity issues in Macedonia, which most definitely come into play here. And Balkanalysis.com has an article up about the image problems of the current government.
The first round of elections were peaceful, by the way, so that's great news. The second round is coming up soon.