A Million People in Mass Protest in Athens

The view from my hotel window right now.

A mass protest gathering closer to a million people is held on Sunday in the Greek capital, where I am at the moment. The cause is the ongoing name conflict between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Local journalist Dina Liossi from the Virginia newspaper tells me that the conflict has strong religious and ethnic grounds because there are different orthodox approaches in the two countries and Macedonians are the largest ethnic group in Greece.

The protests also include slogans against parliamentarians who earn more than €7,000 a month while all others Greeks have been forced to save money, youth unemployment is sky high, and many educated people move to other EU countries.

Liossi states that representatives from all parties participate in the protests because it’s impossible not to. Everyone has some Macedonian in the family.

The neighbouring country consists of Slavic people who arrived in the ninth century from the north and have no connection with the Greek kingdom of Alexander the Great. The new republic north of the border has no cultural ties to the Greek Macedonians and the province in the north called Macedonia.

In the mass protest, people from all walks of life participate. The podium is shared by activists from civil society and the church. Uniformed militants participate in the protests.