A protest rally over the issue of FYROM’s name, which recently became the focus of diplomatic activity between Greece and its northern neighbour aiming at a solution, got underway in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on Sunday afternoon with the central slogan “Macedonia is Greece”.
A platform was set up on the coastal promenade, opposite the statue of Alexander the Great, and protestors have filled the surrounding area, blocking the coastal avenue and extending toward the city’s landmark White Tower on one side and the Macedonia Palace Hotel on the other.
Several members of the clergy are among those taking part, including Thessaloniki Metropolitan Anthimos, and a number of main opposition New Democracy MPs, as well as Centrists Union party leader Vassilis Leventis and MPs from his party.
Members and MPs of the Independent Greeks (ANEL), the junior member of Greece’s ruling coalition government, also put in an appearance, among them the party’s vice-president Panagiotis Sgouridis.
Central Macedonia Region governor Apostolos Tzitzikostas and Thessaloniki Deputy Regional Governor Voula Patoulidou were also there, with Tzitzikostas and ND MPs walking among the crowd.
The rally began shortly after 14:00 with addresses from federations and other groups and continued with the speeches, while members of the crowd shouted slogans against politicians and Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris.
Meanwhile, a counter-rally was organised by anti-establishment activists in Kamara Square.