Thousand of Greeks will take part in nationwide rallies today, in 25 cities across the country to send a resounding message to the government to refrain from conceding the term Macedonia in the negotiations with FYROM over the name dispute. The organisers of the rallies, a Facebook group called “Committee for the struggle of the Greekness of Macedonia” (@macedoniarally), hope the number of participants will exceed their initial expectations. The President of the Panhellenic Association of Macedonian Cultural Groups, George Tatsios told Protothema.gr that the fact that the rallies are spread across the country gives the chance to thousands of Greeks in remote regions of the country to add their voices in defence of Greek history and the future of Macedonia. The following cities (until now) are expected to take part in the nationwide rallies, which are scheduled to take place on Wednesday, June 6 at 7.30 pm:
Pella, Kavala, Drama, Serres, Kilkis, Polykastro, Lagadas, Nea Moudania, Edessa, Florina, Kastoria, Ptolemaida, Katerini, Veria, Larissa, Thebes, Ioannina, Rhodes, Chania, Siatista, Corfu and Chalkida. As Michalis Patsikas, one of the members of the organising committee, said, participation in the rallies will be large given the positive feedback he has received from the public.
Meanwhile, the Mayors of several Macedonian cities have voiced their strong support for the gatherings, while several municipal councils have taken decisions to support the demonstrations. Metropolitans from Macedonia have also expressed their backing of the Macedonian Committee.
Dozens of buses have been chartered to transport participants from villages or smaller towns to the large cities where the rallies will be held.
Local politicians and religious leaders will be among those addressing the crowds during the demonstrations, with their criticism excepted to focus primarily on the handling of the issue by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias.