Mass rally in Athens over Macedonia name deal disrupted by clashes

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ATHENS, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- A mass rally held in front of the Greek parliament over the Macedonia name deal was disrupted by clashes between police and protestors here on Sunday.

Protestors tried to get into the parliament courtyard and police forces used tear gas to repel them.

At least ten police officers and some citizens were injured during the confrontation, Greek national news agency AMNA reported. A 2-year-old baby was transferred to hospital unconscious, according to news site.

Hundreds of buses brought protesters in from around the country, while more people arrived on ferries from the islands.

According to the organizers, 3,000 buses would travel from northern Greece. Greek police, however, announced on Sunday that 326 buses had crossed the tolls towards Athens, estimating the attendance of 60,000 participants.

​ About 2,000 policemen had been deployed across the city to boost security, as a counter demonstration was held near Syntagma by a small group of anti-establishment groups.

The mass demonstration was held to oppose the use of the term "Macedonia" in any resolution of the name row with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), ahead of an anticipated vote on the name deal in the Greek parliament this week.

With the Prespes (or Prespa) Agreement signed last June between Greece and FYROM which resolves a long-standing dispute at Prespes lakes, the natural border between the two states, the Greek government is expected to put an end to the dispute over FYROM's official name.

Under the agreement, FYROM will be renamed the Republic of North Macedonia in exchange of the clearing of the path to its accession to European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, thus ending a row over the use of the name Macedonia which started 28 years ago.

Athens had expressed concern of future territorial claims from the moment the new state declared independence from Yugoslavia, picking the same name used by a northern Greek province.

Skopje's parliament approved a few days ago the final constitutional amendments agreed between the two sides to end such fears. Enditem

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