Police fire teargas to protesters trying to reach Prespes ceremony

Police fire teargas to protesters trying to reach Prespes ceremony

Greek riot police fired teargas at protesters on Sunday as the foreign ministers of Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) signed a historic accord to to rename FYROM the Republic of North Macedonia.

Police had cordoned off all approaches to Psarades, a small village at the Prespes lake region bordering Greece, FYROM and Albania, to prevent demonstrators from reaching the site where the ceremony took place, so about 4,000 people gathered in Pisoderi, a village 40 kilometers away.

Several hundred marched to a nearby police blockade and began throwing rocks. Police responded with teargas and stun grenades.

Nationalists in FYROM who also object to the agreement planned a rally in the city of Bitola, near the Greek border, on Sunday afternoon.

On Saturday, police fired teargas at protesters outside Greece’s parliament as lawmakers were in session discussing a no-confidence motion against the SYRIZA-led government over the deal.

Reports said police fired at least two rounds of teargas at individuals who tried to scale stairs outside Parliament in central Athens.

“Traitors, traitors,” up to 5,000 protesters gathered in the central Syntagma square chanted.

The leftist-led government survived the motion.

According to a poll published Saturday, almost seven in 10 Greeks are opposed to the name North Macedonia.

The poll, conducted by Marc for the Proto Thema newspaper, found that 68.3 percent of respondents are opposed to the agreement. More specifically, 73.2 percent of respondents said they disagree with the use of the term “Macedonia” in the new name and 68.3 percent said they are opposed to the deal as presented by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras last week.

Moreover, 49 percent of respondents who claimed they had voted for ruling SYRIZA said they were also opposed to the accord.

[Combined reports]



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