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Protesters gathering in Athens for Macedonia name rally

No potential compromise in dispute with former Yugoslav republic

04 February, 15:49
(ANSA-AP) - ATHENS, Greece - Protesters from across Greece converged Sunday on Athens' main square outside parliament to protest a potential Greek compromise in a dispute with neighboring Macedonia over the former Yugoslav republic's official name. Hundreds of charted buses brought protesters in from around the country to the Greek capital, while more arrived on ferries from the islands. Traffic was blocked throughout the city center and three major subway stops were closed. Chanting "Hands off Macedonia!" and "Macedonia belongs to Greece!" tens of thousands of protesters converged on Syntagma Square, many waving flags bearing the Star of Vergina, the emblem of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia. Organizers, who hope 1 million people will attend, used a crane to raise a massive Greek flag over the square.

About 700 left-wing and anarchist protesters set up a counter-demonstration nearby, bearing banners calling for Balkan unity. Dozens of riot police were deployed to keep the two demonstrations separate. (ANSA-AP).

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