From Sun Mar 12 12:28:21 2000
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 23:24:03 -0600 (CST)
From: Michael Eisenscher <>
Subject: Mass Union Rally In Macedonia
Article: 90974
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Thousands Attend Macedonian Union Rally

Reuters, 1 March 2000

SKOPJE, Mar 1, 2000—(Reuters) Around 15,000 Macedonian workers took to streets in the capital Skopje on Tuesday to protest against high unemployment and the economic policies of the center-right government.

The demonstration was organized by the blue-collar Alliance of Macedonian Unions.

Its president, Zivko Tolevski, called on the center-right government to start a dialogue with unions.

He urged it to not accept “blackmail from the international financial institutions, especially the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund”.

“Should we close down all big companies? We are opposed to that,” he told the crowd.

“If they close down the loss-making companies so many people would be left with no jobs. We are sure that other solutions could be envisaged,” he said.

Tolevski said the former Yugoslav republic, which became independent in 1991, had one of Europe's highest unemployment rates, 36 percent.

“We have a right to send a powerful message to the international community and Europe that Macedonia can not overcome its economic crisis with all these barriers and blockades,” said Tolevski, referring to sanctions against its northern neighbour Serbia.