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Macedonians Protest Against Name Concessions To Greece


(RFE/RL) — About 10,000 people have taken to the streets of the Macedonian capital to protest a possible change to the name of the former Yugoslav republic to comply with a demand by neighboring Greece.

The flag-waving demonstrators on March 4 gathered around a statue of Alexander the Great, the famed ruler of the ancient Kingdom of Macedonia, on Skopje’s main square, chanting “We are Macedonians.”

“We are not protesting, we are just defending our name. We are against changing the name, that’s all. No one gave it to us, no one created it. That name is eternally Macedonian and should remain as it is,” one demonstrator told RFE/RL.

“We will never give our name away to anyone. There is one Macedonia and it will remain Macedonia forever,” said another protester. “Macedonia is a great name, we carry it in our hearts, we love Macedonia, we are Macedonians, we love Macedonia, we won’t give it up.”

The rally was organized by the movement Our Name Is Our Right, as Skopje and Athens recently stepped up efforts to resolve a 27-year-old dispute over Macedonia’s name.

The row has hampered Macedonia’s efforts to join NATO and the EU. Greece is a member of both entities.

Greece objects to the former Yugoslav republic’s use of the name Macedonia, which Athens says could imply territorial claims over its own northern region of the same name.

Negotiations between the two neighbors have been inconclusive since 1991, when Macedonia gained independence from the former Yugoslavia.

Macedonia has now said it is ready to add a geographical qualifier to its name to help resolve the dispute. An agreement could include Macedonia adding “Upper,” “New,” or “North” to its name.

The protesters in Skopje urged the government of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev to halt talks with Greece over the issue and demanded that the United Nations recognize the country under its constitutional name, Macedonia.

They also accused the Macedonian government of betraying the country’s national interest.

Parallel rallies were staged by Macedonians in other cities around the world, including Washington and Sydney, Australia.

Many Greeks also object to any use of the word Macedonia in their neighbor’s official name. A rally in Athens drew tens of thousands of people on February 4.

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RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

3 thoughts on “Macedonians Protest Against Name Concessions To Greece

  • March 5, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    There will be zero tolerance with FYROM. If Zaev wanted to mend relations with Greece he would have announced the demolition of the grotesque Italian made Hellenic reproduction statues that litter the FYROM landscape, the renaming of the airport in Skopje, the renaming of the highway, the renaming of the football stadium, the removal of the repulsive Baroque Hellenic style facades, the correcting of school carriculum, the removal of the Hellenic symbol on the national flag, the removal of all greater Macedonia maps from government institutions and a heartfelt apolgy to the nation of Greece for his nation being vile for the last two and a half decades. Cultural theft cannot be forgiven easily. Actions speak louder than words. Greeks do not want to hear politicians trying new age diplomacy that they learnt in their political science classes. Dimitrov, Šekerinska, Zaevand all the Slavic Fyromians currently running FYROM are just as dogmatic about an exclusivity of the name as the Gruevski ultra nationalists. There is no scope for negotiation with these antiques. Greece is the victim here. Our history has been hijacked by Fyromian Slavs. Leave our history alone. It’s not a good fit for you. You cannot pronounce nor read the Ancient inscriptions for they are in Greek. If FYROM wants exclusivity to the name Macedonia they will have to change their official language to Greek for this corresponds with the Ancient Macedonian language. We Greeks embrace everyone as a Hellene as long as they speak Greek. You cannot have Bulgarian speaking Slavs of FYROM claiming they are Antiques. It’s ridiculous.
    Sekerinska can sit around bagging the VMRO for their crimes but she is just as bad. She claims she is a Slav and a non Antique and in the same breath attacks Greece for not recognizing FYROM. I thought that her hair incident would have knocked some sense into her. Dimitrov has also had a go at it. The fool was part of the negotiation team under Gruevski. He failed miserably because he too will never give up the name. These Slavs are like a dog with a bone but in their case the bone is plastic and has zero marrow.
    They know what they have to do and it will never happen. The constitutional name will not change because the antiquated population of FYROM will never vote for it. They have had way too many history lessons from Milenko Nedelkovski. The vile sneaky tactics of attempting to be admitted to NATO and the EU under their provisional FYROM name won’t work either. They are fruitless attempts at diplomacy that not only waste time but also soak up tax payers efforts. Think twice FYROM before attempting negotiations with the Greeks on their history. The Albanian, Roma and Turkish birth rate is twice that of the Slavs. While you lot are busy fixating about exclusivity of your name and your antique culture the non Slavic population of FYROM will become a majority group within their ancient wonderland. The last census was in 2001, these so called minority groups were are 35% collectively. I would hate to think what they are at now. 16 years of fertile breeding has to be worrying for the new government. Back off our history you deluded farm animals.

    • March 6, 2018 at 7:40 pm

      Its funny, how the greeks have issues with Turkey, Macedonia and Albania their neighbors, tells me they are simply miserable haters nothing else..

      • March 8, 2018 at 11:40 am

        Hahahaha. Too funny pal. To funny. I suppose you don’t, can’t, see the idiocy of your statement. Pure idiocy pal. Lol.


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