Thousands Of Macedonians Protest Name Change

Thousands Of Macedonians Protest Name Change.

Several thousand Macedonians took to the streets in capital Skopje on Tuesday to protest against a possible change of their country’s name, as required by Greece to end a long-running row.

Defying freezing temperatures and snow, the protesters, organized by a network of several civic associations, held umbrellas in the colors of the Macedonian flag and chanted “Long live Macedonia!” and “Macedonians!”
The protesters demanded an end to ongoing talks between Macedonia’s government and their Greek counterparts aimed at solving the 25-year dispute.

Athens, which has threatened to veto Macedonia joining NATO and can block its bid to join the European Union, argues its neighbor’s use of the name suggests Skopje has claims to the territory of Greece’s historic northern region of the same name.

But Macedonia has made significant progress recently and the EU has said it is “very confident” the dispute will be settled before July.

“The name of the state must remain unchanged,” Macedonian writer Eftim Kletnikov told the crowd that gathered in front of the EU headquarters in Skopje and marched to the parliament.

Political parties, including the main opposition nationalist VMRO-DPMNE, said they were not behind the protest.

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