Thousands of people descended from every corner of Greece and began gathering at Athens’ Syntagma Square in the early hours of Sunday to participate in a demonstration against the Prespa Agreement.
Hundreds of buses were chartered to bring citizens from across the country, mainly from the northern Greek region of Macedonia.
The demonstration is expected to start at 14:00 local time (12:00 GMT) and is supported by the Greek Orthodox Church, cultural organizations, public figures and political parties which oppose the Greek government’s compromise with the neighboring country.
The participants will demonstrate their opposition to the proposed legislation which was brought to the Greek Parliament on Saturday.
The bill includes the provisions of Prespa Agreement which was signed between the leaders of Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) at Prespa lake in July, 2018.
According to this, FYROM will change its constitutional name from the ”Republic of Macedonia” to the ”Republic of North Macedonia”, with its language and citizenship being recognized as ”Macedonian”.
The Greek government, trying to calm those who oppose the changes, notes that both the language and the citizenship include additional language which clarifies the description.
The clarifications point out that the new country’s language belongs to the “family of South Slavic languages” and the citizenship includes the additional sentence of ”citizen of North Macedonia” next to the term ”Macedonian”.
Με χειροκροτήματα και τον εθνικό ύμνο η αλλαγή φρουράς στο Σύνταγμα pic.twitter.com/U5EcSjRsRl
— Sputnik Ελλάδα (@SputnikEllada) January 20, 2019
Before the beginning of the rally, hundreds of people chanted the national anthem during the changing of the guard at the monument to the unknown soldier.
Thousands gather at Syntagma square in Athens to declare "Macedonia is Greece" and protest against the Greek government's will to pass a bill and grant FYROM use of the name "North Macedonia." Full story: https://goo.gl/SW3if7 Video by Panagiotis Savvidis
Posted by Greek Reporter on Sunday, January 20, 2019