Youth activists from the small opposition Levica (Left) party protested on Friday against the renaming of Second Macedonian Strike Brigade Street in Skopje by placing little placards with the names of some 300 Partisan fighters from the anti-fascist unit who were killed during World War II along the length of the street.
“These names will remain here as a reminder, as long as the authorities allow it,” Levica said in a video posted on Facebook.
“This is an attempt to relativise the anti-fascist struggle, a struggle through which we founded this state,” the party added.
Second Macedonian Strike Brigade Street in Skopje’s ethnic Albanian-dominated municipality of Cair was dur later on Friday to be officially renamed after Adem Demaci, a Kosovo Albanian writer and politician who was considered one of the most prominent dissidents in the former federal Yugoslavia.
Demaci, who was considered by the Yugoslav authorities to be a dissident and a secessionist, spent 28 years in prison and is regarded in Kosovo as a national hero and has been described as “Kosovo’s Mandela”.
In today’s North Macedonia however, Demaci’s legacy is little-known, apart from among the Albanian community which makes up roughly one quarter of the population.
The Levica party insisted that it does not mind Kosovo celebrating Demaci.
But it said that renaming a street in North Macedonia that was honouring the country’s anti-fascist past in order to honour a person it believes was working against the beneficial legacy of that anti-fascist past is an act of historical revisionism.
The Second Macedonian Strike Brigade, also known as the Tikvesh brigade, was a Partisan formation, mostly comprised of ethnic Macedonians, which was formed in 1943 in today’s northern Greece.
The brigade was involved in many armed clashes, particularly with Bulgarian troops, which were then part of the Axis forces that occupied most of today’s territory of North Macedonia, as well as parts of Serbia and Greece.
In 1944, the brigade was involved in fighting on Sremski Front in Croatia as part of a joint Yugoslav Partisan push to drive Nazi forces out of Yugoslav territory.
The small Levica party won its first two MPs in North Macedonia’s 120-seat parliament in 2020, but opinion polls show that its popularity is on the rise.
Levica is critical of both the main ruling Social Democrats and the right-wing VMRO DPMNE opposition, but its ideological stance, which ranges from far left to far right, puzzles many in North Macedonia.
Last year, at the start of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, the party was widely criticised for supporting Moscow’s view of the war after its leaders met the Russian ambassador to Skopje.
Source : Balkan Insight