A celebration for the 103rd anniversary of the signing of the Protocol of Corfu took place at the Monument of the “Exquisite Chief of Staff of Epirus” Thymios Liolis, in the central square of the village of Krania, in Northern Epirus (Southern Albania) on Saturday, May 13, 2017. The celebration was vibrant, full of pulse and a message of struggle.
The event, took place at the initiative of the “National Association Northern Epirus 1914” and the significant support of the “Co-operative Student Union of Northern Epirus Struggle”.
Dozens of Northern Epirotes of all ages, defying the Albanian state’s terrorism and provocative boycotting of minority political parties, participated in the celebrations.
The presentation of the event was made by the student of the Mesopotamos High School, Grigoris Koutsis, who reminded to the Albanian government the “Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities”, which is also a law of the Albanian state, that is set to protect the national minorities’ rights to keep and preserve their ethnic, religious traditions and identity, as well as their basic democratic freedoms.
Father Haralambos proceeded with the memorial service in memory of the members of the “Autonomous Epirus” and the Greek Fighters of 1914, and the former Prefect of Mesopotamos Vasilis Kalivas read a brief chronicle of the Northern Epirus Struggle that led to the signing of the Protocol of Corfu.
“Today, 103 years after the Greeks of Northern Epirus we have to assert our rights and to base the our lawfull and legitimate struggle for survival in our own homeland on the Protocol of Corfu. By restoring it we are not asking anything more than for the Albanian state to honor its own signature”, added Mr. Kalivas.
The main speaker of the event was the veteran Greek scholar, writer and contemporary fighter of the Northern Epirus struggle, Mr. Evangelos Papachristos, describing the current situation in the area of Northern Epirus, with the constant violation of the human rights of Hellenism in the region.
Mr. Papachristos referred to the right of North Epirus to have a status of Autonomy as is true for many other ethnic minorities across Europe.
Representing the “National Association Northern Epirus 1914″ Mr. Montis Kolilas, noted that the demand for Autonomy has been promoted by the Association both in the European Parliament in Brussels and in the OSCE conferences in Warsaw.
The memorial ceremony ended with the Greek national anthem.