Thessaloniki: Protesters against name deal target President Pavlopoulos
About 250 protesters, including some masked ones, have gathered outside Thessaloniki’s Music Hall to protest against the deal which will rename Greece’s northern neighbor “North Macedonia”.
The protest is being staged on the occasion of the visit of Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos to attend a concert commemorating the Jewish Holocaust and give a keynote speech.
Earlier, protesters tried to break through the police ranks around the building but were pushed back. Tear gas was used.
The masked protesters arrived later, setting a barricade using trash cans and a discarded Christmas tree and bracing for a confrontation.
The protesters are angry at Pavlopoulos for not weighing in on the issue, although the Constitution affords little actual leeway to the largely ceremonial President.
Polls show a majority of Greeks oppose the so-called Prespes Agreement, now ratified by both countries. Feelings run especially high in Greece's northern province of Macedonia, where perception is that the neighbor to the north not only wants to steal Greece's ancient heritage but may well harbor territorial designs on Greece.