Thousands of communists marched in Athens on Thursday, protesting the ratification of the Prespes Agreement between Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras and the Macedonia-FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) prime minister, Zoran Zaev. Major demonstrations were also held in the cities of Larissa and Thessaloniki, organized by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).
The agreement, purportedly to resolve the dispute over the name ‘Macedonia’, was signed on June 17, 2018 in a high-level ceremony at the Greek border village of Psarades by former Macedonian and Greek foreign ministers, Nikola Dimitrov and Nikos Kotzias respectively, in the presence of Zaev and Tsipras. According to the agreement, Macedonia-FYROM would be renamed as the Republic of Northern Macedonia in order to distinguish it from the northern Greek province of Macedonia. Greece would withdraw its objections, raised earlier, against the integration of Macedonia-FYROM into the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The deal met with much objection in both countries along nationalistic lines, with critics decrying what they called the surrender of heritage linked with ancient Macedonia.
Apart from that, the left has pointed out that if the deal gets ratified, Macedonia-FYROM’s application for integration into the EU and cooperation with NATO will formally advance without any objections from Greece. Leftists and Anti-NATO sectors in the region consider the deal to be part of NATO-EU’s design to proliferate into the Balkans in the garb of resolving the dispute over the name.
KKE accused the Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left) government in Greece of catering to the expansionist designs of NATO and being more committed to the prescriptions of the EU rather than the people of the country. KKE opposed the Prespes Agreement and voted against its ratification in parliament on Friday. The controversial agreement backed by the Syriza-Independent Coalition was passed with 153 votes in favor and 146 against.
Speaking in parliament on Thursday night, Dimitris Koutsoumpas, the secretary of the central committee of KKE, denounced the efforts of other parties to conceal this critical issue within the Prespes Agreement. “The agreement reached by the SYRIZA government to vote in parliament is a shameful deal, an agreement on demand for imperialist interests, Americans and NATO, which of course has the acceptance of the ruling class in Greece that expects benefits,” he said.
KKE MP Giannis Delis said that the government had become “NATO secretary and chamberlain of the imperialist camp in the region”. He also warned that “collective self-determination” is resorted to by imperialists, who make states like Kosovo when they are in favor, but when they do not like it, they deny this right, as seen in the case of Palestine.
902.gr reported that as part of the protest, members of KKE and its youth wing hung giant banners of KKE in the Acropolis, saying “No to the agreement between Tsipras-Zaev, to the plans of USA-NATO-EU, to irredentism and nationalism, Yes to friendship, solidarity and joint struggle of the peoples.”
On Thursday, the protest rally in Athens culminated in a meeting at Freedom Park, near the US embassy. The KKE general secretary, Dimitris Koutsoubas, inaugurated the meeting and other prominent members, including Nikos Sofianos, Yiannis Protoulis, Eleni Gerasimidou, Vangelis Christoforou, Nikos Papanastasiou, etc., greeted the gathering. At Thessaloniki, the protesters gathered near the statue of Venizelos, where they were addressed by KKE member and the city mayor, Sotiris Ziaranopoulos.
KKE also organized a talk in South Dodecanese on the topic “The Prespa Agreement: the role of NATO and the EU in the Balkans and the positions of the KKE”. Elisha Vagenas, member of the central committee and head of International Relations Department of KKE, was the keynote speaker at the event.
Earlier, on October 23, 2018, thousands from KKE had marched at various places against the presence of US-NATO bases in Greece, and demanded the closure of all foreign military bases and the return of all Greek soldiers who participated in NATO missions abroad.