Macedonia Protests Continue

Macedonia Protests ContinueMacedonia Protests Continue

Anti-government protesters in Macedonia have taken to the streets for a fourth night following a presidential pardon for 56 politicians embroiled in a corruption scandal.

President Gjorge Ivanov said he stood by the pardons, which annulled judicial investigations into the politicians.

Ivanov was speaking hours after parliament was dissolved and early elections called for June 5.

But the main opposition party, SDSM, said it would boycott the elections, BBC reported.

Last year, the party accused former prime minister, Nikola Gruevski, of wiretapping 20,000 people, including politicians and journalists.

Gruevski is one of the 56 people who have had judicial investigations into their conduct cancelled.

Others include former interior minister, Gordana Jankulovska, and former intelligence chief, Sasho Mijalkov, as well as the leader of the main opposition party SDSM, Zoran Zaev, and former SDSM president, Branko Crvenkovski.

Zaev has been releasing a steady stream of recordings since February 2015, saying scores of leaked recordings reveal corruption at the highest levels of government, including the mismanagement of funds, dubious criminal prosecutions of opponents and even cover-ups of killings.

Protesters converged on Macedonia Square in the capital Skopje on Friday evening. They demanded the resignation of President Ivanov and the postponement of elections.

Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanoski had confirmed the elections earlier on Friday.