The 2001 insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia was an armed conflict which began when the ethnic Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA) militant group attacked the security forces of the Republic of Macedonia at the beginning of February 2001, and ended with the Ohrid Agreement. There were also claims that the group ultimately wished to see Albanian-majority areas secede from the country, though high-ranking NLA members have denied this. The conflict lasted throughout most of the year, although overall casualties remained limited to several dozen individuals on either side, according to sources from both sides of the conflict. With it, the Yugoslav Wars had reached previously peaceful Macedonia.
When it declared its independence on 8 September 1991, Macedonia was the only ex-Yugoslav republic that managed to secede non-violently from the federation. Because of this, Macedonia was considered one of the bright spots in the former-Yugoslavia.
Although Macedonia seceded from Yugoslavia as one of the poorest republics, socio-economic interventions undertaken by the consecutive democratically elected governments managed to improve the economic picture in the country. According to the International Crisis Group, there was nearly 3% growth in 1999. The second half of 2000 also saw steady growth, leading to a 5% GDP increase for the year. In January 2001, the government projected a budget surplus for the second year in a row. In 2000 the country's emerging middle class began buying new cars, adding extensions to apartments and planning summer vacations abroad.
Although the ethnic Macedonian majority and the largest minority, the ethnic Albanians, have co-existed uneasily both before and after the country declared independence in 1991, their relations have generally been peaceful. All of the successive Macedonian governments have included Albanian parties as coalition partners, and all problems were resolved through political dialogue. The mood was more or less optimistic until the beginning of 2001. The main cause for incidents though, was the repression by the Macedonian governments on the use of the Albanian language in Macedonia and the ban of the use of the Albanian flag. In 1997 the Constitutional Court forbade the use of Albanian flag, sparking protests.