Thousands protest in Skopje against Macedonia name change
Several thousand people gathered in Skopje to protest against the change of the name of Macedonia, Macedonian media reported.Source: Tanjug
According to Macedonian newspaper Vecer, 10,000 people rallied despite the bad weather.
MIA agency reported that the protest was organized by the civic initiative "For United Macedonia" with the aim of "defending the name of the state and the identity of the nation."
The demonstrators first assembled in front of the European Union mission in Skopje, in order to proceed toward the Macedonian Assembly building. Traffic was blocked in the center of the town due to the protest.
The opposition VMRO-DPMNE distanced itself from the protest, saying that it was not the organize, MIA reported.
Participants waved Macedonian flag flags and carried banners reading, "Stop Greek Racism" and "Stop Negotiations," Reuters reported.
During the protest, a Greek flag was set on fire, according to the agency.
The Macedonian government announced in the meantime that UN mediator Matthew Nimetz was the one who proposed four options for a new name name of that state - specifying that the proposals did not come from Macedonia.
The government in Skopje denied that Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said Macedonia had submitted four proposals for resolving the name dispute with Greece - as previously reported by Reuters.
The Macedonian government said in a statement that the interpretation of Reuters, according to which Zaev said Macedonia had presented four options for resolving the name dispute with Greece, was "wrong."
The agency reported earlier that Zaev said in London these proposals were "the Republic of Northern Macedonia, the Republic of Upper Macedonia, the Republic of Vardar Macedonia and the Republic of Macedonia (Skopje)."