A protest rally over the issue of FYROM's name, which recently became the focus of diplomatic activity between Greece and its northern neighbour aiming at a solution, was concluded in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on Sunday afternoon.
A platform was set up on the coastal promenade opposite the statue of Alexander the Great, with a banner proclaiming the central slogan "Macedonia is Greece", with thousands of protestors filling the surrounding area, blocking the coastal avenue and stretching from the city's landmark White Tower on one side to the Macedonia Palace Hotel on the other.
At about 3:30 pm, the organisers of the rally announced from the loudspeakers that the participants in the rally are 500,000!
Several members of the clergy are among those taking part, including Thessaloniki Metropolitan Anthimos, and a number of main opposition New Democracy MPs, as well as Centrists Union party leader Vassilis Leventis and MPs from his party. Members and MPs of the Independent Greeks (ANEL), the junior member of Greece's ruling coalition government, also put in an appearance, among them the party's vice-president Panagiotis Sgouridis.
Central Macedonia Region governor Apostolos Tzitzikostas and Thessaloniki Deputy Regional Governor Voula Patoulidou were also there, with Tzitzikostas and ND MPs walking among the crowd.
The rally began shortly after 14:00 with addresses from federations and other groups and continued with the speeches, while members of the crowd shouted slogans against politicians and Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris.
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