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Politics

Greek Community Event in Memory of Katsifas Draws Albanian Protesters (Vid)

BROOKLYN – Albanian protesters created tension during an event held in memory of Konstantinos Katsifas by the Federation of Associated Laconian Societies at their headquarters, the Laconian Pan-Hellenic Cultural Center, in Brooklyn on December 9.

The protest was organized through social media over about 24 hours when members of the Albanian community in New York found out there would be an event to honor Katsifas whom protest organizers called a “terrorist” and “villain.”

Protesters carried signs with irredentist messages, such as “Epirus is Albanian,” while others portrayed the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, as a neo-Nazi.

According to the Laconian Federation Communication Director, Ioannis Koutalis, about 30 to 40 people participated in the protest demonstrating “provocative behavior” and “they were shouting.”

“These people, ignorant in their majority, continually provoked and tried to bully us. Though they did not move against us, they cursed and shouted ‘shame on Greece.’ It was not even about Katsifas or Northern Epirus. They wanted to express their hatred of Greece and Hellenism,” Koutalis told The National Herald.

The leaders of the protest noted that members of the Federation of Laconian Societies “should have complained about the genocide committed by the Greek government in Tsamouria,” pointing out that events in the memory of people such as Katsifas “should not be allowed in America,” since, as mentioned above, the protesters view him as a “terrorist.”

As TNH reported, the Federation administration was informed of the impending counter-protest by informing the police, which sent a competent force to ensure that there would be no tension between the Albanians and even more Greek expatriates who participated in the event.

“Those protesters in the street were hurling insults, saying things against us and actually creating a little tension. But if you ask me, it might be for the best, since the Greek community must understand that when we support the rights of Greeks and the values ??of Hellenism, there will be people who are against us,” said Laconian Federation President Timoleon Kakouros.

However, although the situation could have escalated, the presence of the police calmed the situation, so the “electrified” atmosphere led to nothing but verbal only confrontations.

Eventually, the protesting Albanians remained outside for 30 to 40 minutes, shouted slogans, and then left.

The memorial event included mainly speeches, as well as wreaths laid in memory of Katsifas, who was fatally shot by the Albanian police on October 28, in the village of Vouliarates.

Among the speakers were the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York Honorary Chairman Vasilios Stathakos, President Cleanthis Meimaroglou, Northern Epirotans Association “Pyrrhus” President Kostas Tsouris, Federation of Hellenic-American Educators President Stella Kokolis, and the Holy Cross Greek School Principal Eleftheria Ikouta.

In his remarks, Laconian Federation President Timoleon Kakouros focused on the personality and life of Katsifas.

The Federation donated $1,000 to the Greek Schools of Sts. Constantine and Helen and Holy Cross in Brooklyn, which will be given as prize money for a student art exhibition competition on Greek-related themes such as the Ancient Spartans, Northern Epirus and the descendants of Alexander the Great, and the Kalasha people.

Present at the event were representatives of the Pakistani community, as well as the Kalasha representative, Lakshan Bibi, Founder and Chairperson of Kalash Indigenous Survival Project (KIPS).

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