Greeks to the Street over Macedonia

Screenshot of a Tweet by Mary Fragedakis‏
Screenshot of a Tweet by Mary Fragedakis‏

Tens of thousands of people gathered outside the Greek Parliament to protest the Greek government’s move to negotiate with Macedonia to settle the dispute over the use of the name of ‘Macedonia’.

On Sunday, tens of thousands of people took to the street to protest the Tsipras government’s move to settle the historical dispute.

Greece’s second biggest city Macedonia is in the northern part of the country. Macedonia being the second biggest populous city in the country has a long history and tradition.

Macedonia is also the name of Greece’s Balkan country that earned independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 and gave the birth to the debate over using the name of ‘Macedonia’.

Alexis Tsipras’s government recently announced to settle the decades-long dispute over using the name of Macedonia which barred the Balkan country from joining NATO and the European Union.

After the current government moved to settle the debate through the United Nations, tens of the thousands of people took to the street to protest the move.

The protesters demanded that the name ‘Macedonia’ belongs only to the northern city of Greece and its people. According to the popular protests, the name refers only to the Greek city. The Balkan country Macedonia cannot use this name.

Tens of thousands of people from all across the country gathered in Athens to protest the government move and demonstrated before the parliament.

The protesters who gathered outside the parliament on Sunday demonstration chanted anti-Macedonia slogans.

Many protesters were seen carrying banners reading “Hands off Macedonia” while many others chanted the national anthem of Greece.

Reuters reported many of the protesters carried the national flag of Greece in anti-Macedonia protests.

“I‘m here for Macedonia. Macedonia is ours, it’s part of Greece. We won’t let them take it from us,” Reuters quoted a 72-year old Persefoni Platsouri, a protester carrying the national flag of Greece.

Mikis Theodorakis, a leading leftist leader of the anti-Macedonia protests, said, “If we give in, we are leaving the doors wide open for a tragic historical lie to come through and stay forever.”

The political experts, however, fear that the ongoing protests might disrupt a peaceful settlement of the dispute regarding the name of ‘Macedonia’.

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