Hundreds of Macedonian nationalists protested outside the parliament in Skopje on Wednesday, as it was announced by the country’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev that an agreement has been reached with Greece to change the country’s name into ‘Northern Macedonia’, thus settling a long standing dispute between both countries.
Protesters lit flares and displayed numerous national flags and banners, while chanting threatening slogans about Zaev, the Greeks and the Albanian population in Macedonia. Several speakers took turns to address the crowd, with one of them telling Zaev that this was ‘the last warning’. Reportedly, a Molotov cocktail was launched towards the parliament, but it failed to ignite upon impact.
Many in Greece have seen the name ‘Macedonia’ as posing a threat to the Greek state arguing that it implies a territorial claim over the eponymous region of northern Greece.
The naming dispute dates back to Macedonia’s declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. As a result, international organisations and states that do not recognise the constitutional name ‘Republic of Macedonia’ refer to it as ‘the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’ (FYROM).