SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) -- Muslim leaders in Macedonia are calling on their community to stay calm and not respond to provocations as many remain upset about a local carnival earlier this month.
On Jan. 13, some participants in the traditional Vevcani festival in the southern town of Struga were masked as burqa-wearing Muslim women.
Last Friday, enraged Muslims demonstrated against the incident, and on Saturday they attacked buses and defaced a Macedonian flag outside the municipality, replacing it with a green flag meant to represent Islam.
In a statement Monday, local Muslim leaders called for restraint in the community but also accused the government of stoking Islamophobia.
Muslims, almost all of them ethnic Albanians, make up 33 percent of Macedonia's 2.1 million population.