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Thousands call for PM Gruevski resignation

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By Euronews
Thousands call for PM Gruevski resignation

<p>Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Skopje on Sunday, the capital of the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia.</p> <p>The crowds called for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in the central avenue outside his government office.</p> <p>Since February the Prime Minister, who has served for nine years, has faced a wave of embarrassing revelations against him and his ministers in relation to taped conversations that appear to expose tight government control over journalists, judges and the conduct of elections.</p> <p>Gruevski says he did not order the recordings and that the audio has been doctored.</p> <p>The opposition Social Democrat leader Zoran Zaev says the tapes were made illegally by the government as part of a mass surveillance operation targeting 20,000 allies and opponents alike, and leaked to him by a whistleblower.</p> <p>The combination of Macedonian and Albanian flags in the crowd revealed a dramatic display of ethnic unity against the government.</p> <p>Ethnic Albanians currently account for some 30 percent of the population but the two communities live largely separate lives.</p> <p>In 2001 the Former Yugoslav Republic was on the brink of civil war following an ethnic Albanian insurgency.</p> <p>The opposition has asked for the protests to continue until the Prime Minister steps down but Gruevski is standing his ground.</p> <p>Speaking to the pro-government Sitel TV on Saturday he said “If I back down it would be a cowardly move. I’ll face down the attacks.”</p>