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Macedonia: Ethnic Albanians clash with police

SKOPJE, Macedonia – Hundreds of stone-throwing ethnic Albanians protesting a Macedonian court ruling have clashed with police, who fired water cannons and tear gas at the crowd to prevent them from storming a court building.

Police said about 2,000 people gathered in Macedonia’s capital Skopje on Friday to protest the life sentences imposed this week on six ethnic Albanian Muslims convicted of murdering five Christian fishermen, in an alleged plot to destabilize the country.

The six men deny the charges and their lawyers said there was no material evidence against them.

The Easter 2012 shootings of the fishermen, in a lake near Skopje, fueled simmering tensions between Macedonia’s Christian Orthodox majority population and the mostly Muslim ethnic Albanian minority.

Two policemen were injured in the clashes, which followed Friday prayers at a mosque.

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