Macedonia says 77 injured in unrest

Authorities in Macedonia say 77 people have been injured in the clashes inside and outside the country’s parliament building.

The injured included 22 police officers and three politicians who were attacked when dozens of protesters pushed through a police cordon and stormed into parliament.

Macedonia’s President Gjorge Ivanov has called for calm in a televised address made after the violence.

In a brief statement, Ivanov said he had summoned the leaders of the country’s main political parties for a meeting on Friday and is appealing “for reasonable and responsible behavior”.

The demonstrators were angry over Thursday’s election of a new parliament speaker despite a months-old deadlock in efforts to form a new government.The leader of Macedonia’s opposition Social Democrat party leader was one of those attacked and he has been greeted by hundreds of supporters.

Zoran Zaev and several other politicians from his party appeared outside the Social Democratic headquarters in the capital several hours after the attack.

In a statement , the party accuses rival conservatives of inciting the violence and causing “hatred and division” among Macedonians.

Police in Macedonia’s capital fired flash grenades and clashed with protesters gathered in front of the country’s parliament, leaving several people injured. Police officers inside the building had appeared to be overwhelmed by the protesters, who broke through a cordon and a refused to leave.

Several hundred protesters remain outside the building.

Authorities did not immediately confirm local television reports that more than a dozen people had been hurt, including protesters and police officers.

The US Embassy in Macedonia has condemned the violence and said in a statement the assault “is not consistent with democracy and is not an acceptable way to resolve differences”. The embassy statement said a majority of lawmakers elected Talat Xhaferi, a lawmaker from an ethnic Albanian party, as parliament speaker.