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Tens of thousands of Greeks rally against use of the name Macedonia

Europe
21.01.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Athens (dpa) - Tens of thousands of Greeks gathered in protest against the use of the name Macedonia on Sunday in Thessaloniki.

Police estimated the number of protesters at about 90,000, while organizers put the figure in the 300,000 at the rally in the northern Greek city calling for the exclusive rights to the name Macedonia.

"There is only one Macedonia, and it is Greek" and "Only we are the true Macedonians" chanted protesters, who had travelled from across the country for the demonstration, state television ERT reported.

Greek nationalistic organizations had called for the demonstration.

Greece claims the name Macedonia, including its historic and cultural heritage, for its north-eastern province, and a majority of Greeks want the country of Macedonia to change its name. The name dispute between Athens and Skopje has been going on since 1991.

Most Greek parliamentary parties, the mayor of Thessaloniki and the leadership of the Greek Orthodox Church had advised against the demonstration, in line with UN efforts to resolve the dispute.

UN special envoy Matthew Nimetz has said that both governments have indicated that they want to find a solution.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has expressed openness to a compromise: A prefix added to the name Macedonia with a geographical or temporal distinction, such as North Macedonia or New Macedonia.

"It would be a national disgrace not to take advantage of this opportunity [to resolve the dispute]," Tsipras said on Sunday in an interview with Greek newspaper Ethnos.

Greece has been blocking Macedonia‘s attempts to join both the European Union and NATO due to the dispute.

 

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