Thousands are gathering to the rally. Photo by ProtoThema
Macedonia Rally: Thousands Gather in Athens to Protest Prespa Agreement
Thousands of people have been descending from every corner of Greece at Athens’ Syntagma Square since the early hours of Sunday to participate at a rally against the Prespa Agreement.
Hundreds of buses were chartered to bring citizens from across the country and mainly from Northern Greece’s region of Macedonia.
The rally 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 that oppose the Greek government’s compromise with the neighboring country.
The participants demonstrate their opposition to the draft bill that 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) in 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 protesting, notes that both the language and the citizenship include clarifying additions.
The clarifications point out that the 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 change of the guard in the monument of the unknown soldier.