Tsipras Says Greece is Becoming Major Force in Balkans



Greece is a leading force in the Balkans and the East Mediterranean and there is no going back, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in Thessaloniki on Friday in an address to his party.

Tsipras spoke about the Prespa agreement with FYROM, presenting it as a step forward in relations between the peoples of the Balkans. At the same time, he praised Thessaloniki because of the “harmonious coexistence of different cultures and traditions, of heavy history and of major democratic struggles.”

“We will not let it become a city of extreme right and hatred, because Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece will not turn back,” he underlined.

He said that “Thessaloniki today responds to darkness, hatred, nationalism, and patriotic exploitation,” adding “the democratic people of Macedonia today sends a message of resistance, freedom, democracy.”

Tsipras continued, “We will not allow politicians who plundered our homeland and threw it on the rocks of bankruptcy, acting today like patriots and going hand in hand with the Golden Dawn neo-Nazis.”

“We will not allow the politicians who took bribes from Siemens and Novartis to call the Left, traitors,” he added.

About 2,000 police were present in the city to guard against riots, while two bomb scares had authorities on alert.

The bomb scare, which had been phoned into the Palais des Sports, the stadium where the prime minister spoke, proved to be a prank.

A rally protesting the use of the word “Macedonia” took place earlier in the city at the White Tower, with anarchist groups holding a counter-rally at Kamares.

During Tsipras’ speech, protesters attempted to storm the offices of the SYRIZA party, but police pushed them back. The unrest was followed by light use of tear gas and noise grenades by the police, whereupon the protesters retreated back to the White Tower.