Thousands of Greek Americans are expected to converge upon New York City for the demonstration organized at the United Nations that opposes the use of the word “Macedonia” in negotiations currently underway with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Emboldened officially by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese’s support, the organizers have enlisted the collaboration of dozens of churches and community organizations that are renting busses to transport members from throughout the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, and as far away as Massachusetts, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Archbishop Demetrios of America issued an encyclical inviting members of the parish communities to join him at the rally, which is scheduled for noon on March 18th, meaning that he has given the green light to parishes to re-schedule Divine Liturgies which usually end around that time.
In his letter, the Archbishop, who hails from Thessaloniki, invited faithful to mobilize and “to proclaim to the leadership and people of the United States as well as to all nation members of the UN that Macedonia is Greek. Let us express in a peaceful yet decisive way our opposition to the unacceptable use of the name of Macedonia by FYROM, the usurpation of Macedonia’s history, culture and symbols, and the expressions of irredentism.”
Organizers at the Panmacedonian Association and the Federation of Hellenic Societies in Astoria are using Facebook to mobilize the tens of thousands of Greek Americans in the area, posting updates regularly to the Facebook event page with announcements about busses being chartered by churches and community organizations.
Similar demonstrations have taken place in diaspora communities throughout the world, including a sizable one outside the Greek Consulate in Melbourne, Australia, where organizers called on the Greek government to cease negotiations with FYROM.
The demonstrations put protestors at an opposing stance with official Greek government policy, which is seeking a compromise solution with its northern neighbor, which could include a geographic prefix like “Northern” Macedonia.
The organizers of the rally oppose this vehemently, citing opposition to any use of the name “Macedonia.”