NEWS

Rain dampens mood for name deal protest; police closing streets, metro

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Even though torrential rain appeared to dampen the mood – and turnout – at a protest rally in downtown Athens scheduled to coincide with a parliamentary vote on the Prespes agreement, police in the Greek capital were implementing strict security measures on Friday.

Authorities have closed down the Syntagma metro station – with trains going through but not stopping at the key transit hub – and also cordoned off sections of the streets surrounding the main square in front of Parliament.

According to reports from the square, only a few dozen protesters had turned out by noon, possibly put off by downpours that have lashed Greece since Thursday night.

The vote, however, is not expected until later in the day, with the official schedule setting it to start at 2.30 p.m., so attendance may still rise over the next couple of hours.

Far-right extremists clashed violently with police at a large and otherwise peaceful demonstration over the same issue on Sunday, while there were also scuffles on Thursday night during a rally coinciding with the parliamentary debate on the controversial agreement with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.