Hundreds of thousands are expected to descend into Athens on Sunday to take part in a rally against the use of the Macedonia name by FYROM.
Organizers expect a crowd that will surpass any other gathering held in the Greek capital over the last years. A similar rally in Thessaloniki in January attracted more than 100,000 people.
They say that the rally is beyond political parties and its message is patriotic and non-partisan. They also stress that it is being financed by Macedonian organizations in Greece and abroad, and in particular the U.S..
Most conservative New Democracy MPs are expected to attend.
ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the party respects both those who do choose to attend and those who do not. “We respect all choices,” he said. Former conservative premier Antonis Samaras endorsed the demo, saying Sunday will be “a great day for the country.”
Greek Reporter will be covering the rally from Syntagma Square. From early in the morning there would be a live feed of events unfolding in the center of the Greek capital, including interviews and analysis.
The keynote speaker will be the famous Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis who is an outspoken critic of the Greek government’s attempts to solve the chronic dispute with FYROM by accepting a compound name that includes “Macedonia.”
Greek police is on alert to prevent possible disturbances as a counter-demonstration is scheduled to take place earlier at Propylaia, less than a mile away from Syntagma square.
Officers will also be tasked with escorting dozens of buses bringing in protesters from other parts of the country for the main rally which is backed by the Church of Greece.
Organizers say that at least 2,500 coaches will descend into Athens from various parts of the country.
Despite protests by the organizers, police has decided to close the central Athens metro stations “Syntagma”, “Panepistimio” and “Omonia” from 10:00 on Sunday morning.
Trains will go through the three stations without stopping.