Hundreds of protesters forced their way into Macedonia's Parliament Thursday and attacked several leading lawmakers, leaving Social-Democratic Union party leader Zoran Zaev with blood pouring down his face. The protesters, supporters of the conservative VMRO party, were enraged by the election of a new Parliament speaker by a coalition of Social Democrats and ethnic Albanian parties, the BBC reports. Nationalists, who are calling for new elections, have been protesting in the streets since Zaev created the coalition. His attempts to form a government have been blocked by President Gjorge Ivanov, whose candidacy was supported by VMRO.
Police say Ziadin Sela, leader of the Albanian Alliance, was the most seriously injured lawmaker, reports Radio Free Europe, whose journalists were attacked by the mob that stormed the Skopje Parliament building. Stun grenades were fired as police tried to force back protesters and clear the way for evacuation of lawmakers. At least 77 people were injured, including 22 police officers. "We condemn the violence in the strongest possible terms," the US Embassy in Macedonia said in a statement. "It is not consistent with democracy and is not an acceptable way to resolve differences."