ATHENS – Protesters outside Greece’s Parliament furious at anti-nationalist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for giving away the name Macedonia were tear gassed by riot police who kept them away in a violent clash.
The Radical Left SYRIZA leader agreed to let the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) be called North Macedonia, although it’s abutted by the ancient Greek province o the same name.
Tsipras’ deal also lets North Macedonians refer to themselves as Macedonians and their language to be Macedonia, leading angry Greeks to denounce him and his party as turncoats and take on police during a no-confidence vote in the Parliament his coalition controls, which saw them rebuff the attempt by the major rival New Democracy to censure him.
Reuters witnesses saw police fire at least two rounds of teargas at individuals who tried to scale stairs outside Parliament, the news agency said in a report on the battle.
“Traitors, traitors,” up to 5,000 protesters gathered in the central Syntagma square chanted.
“I’m furious. That person (Tsipras) is not working in the national interests or the national sentiment of Greeks,” demonstrator Sophia Constantinidou, 45, said.
Dissenting Greeks say North Macedonia is trying to keep claiming Greece’s heritage and culture. The ceremony to sign the name was set for June 17 although neither Parliament has ratified it.