Thousands turned out for protest rallies organised in dozens of northern Greek cities on Wednesday, in protest against the prospect of an agreement on the FYROM name issue that contains the name ‘Macedonia’.
The rallies ended shortly after 21:30 and were organised by the “Campaign Committee for the Greekness of Macedonia”, with protestors bussed in from areas throughout northern Greece.
Among them were many opposition party politicians, local authority officials and representatives of organisations, while the Greek Orthodox Church had a strong presence at the rallies, with representatives from all dioceses in Macedonia.
The main rally took place in Pella, the birthplace of Alexander the Great, and all the rallies started simultaneously, at 19:30, in the central squares of Veria, Kilkis, Polykastro, Edessa, Katerini, Serres, Nea Moudania Halkidiki, Lagada Thessaloniki, Kavala, Drama, Florina, Ptolemaida, Siatista and Kastoria. A rally was also organised in Larisa, in central Greece and Ioannina in Epirus.
Waving Greek flags, banners and religious symbols, the protestors shouted slogans like “Greece means Macedonia” and “Hands off Macedonia”, while speakers at the rallies criticised the government and ministers for their statements on the name issue.
No official police figures were available for the numbers participating in the rallies as of Wednesday evening, while all the rallies in the Macedonian cities of Greece concluded without violence.