Protest against Prespes deal underway

Protest against Prespes deal underway

The protest against the deal renaming the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) North Macedonia is underway outside the Greek Parliament.

There was a scuffle with police a few minutes ago, as protesters tried to scale the steps leading to the Parliament. Police used tear gas to repel them.

So far, attendance has not lived up to the organizers' hopes of a crowd exceeding 600,000.

The organizers had claimed that 3,000 buses would travel from northern Greece. But police said shortly after 2 pm that only about 300 had crossed the final tolls towards Athens. Another 60 buses have crossed from the Peloponnese, the toll operator company has said.

Former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras addressed the rally, saying that “we are protesting for what we know is just.” Samaras built his career around the Macedonia issue, quitting the government back in 1992, and then the New Democracy party in 1993, bringing down the conservative government with a hardline stance on the name issue. He returned to New Democracy in 2004, became party leader in 2009 and was Prime Minister from 2012-2015.

Also addressing the protesters was a representative of Mt. Athos monastic community and a Greek-American leader.

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