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Greek Police Use Tear Gas on Protesters Against Macedonia Deal - Reports

© Sputnik / Dmitry Vinogradov / Go to the photo bankParticipants in the "Macedonia Is Greece rally" in Athens
Participants in the Macedonia Is Greece rally in Athens - Sputnik International
ATHENS (Sputnik) - Greek police used tear gas in the center of Athens against the group of protesters who tried to break into the parliament, the Athens news agency AMNA reported Saturday.

Several dozen people protesting against the agreement on the new constitutional name with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia tried to climb up the stairs to the parliament building in Syntagma Square, and the police used gas to stop them, the agency reported.

READ MORE: Analyst on Macedonia, Greece Dispute: 'Indisputable Dogma of Both Countries'

According to media reports, only a few hundred people participate in the rally. People came with Greek flags and slogans "Macedonia is Greece" and "Hands off our history."

The rally began shortly before the vote of no confidence in the government of Alexis Tsipras initiated by the leader of the opposition New Democracy party Kyriakos Mitsotakis. According to Mitsotakis, the agreement harms national interests and is not unilaterally supported within the government. Defense Minister Panos Kammenos and his faction ANEL said that they would not vote for ratification of the agreement.

​On Tuesday, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that he had reached a deal with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on the decades-long name issue, agreeing that Macedonia would be named the Republic of North Macedonia, or Severna Makedonija in Macedonian.

A person walks near a sign that reads welcome to Macedonia at the Macedonia-Greece border April 16, 2018 - Sputnik International
Macedonia’s President Refuses to Sign Agreement With Greece on Renaming Country

Macedonia gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Athens has been in dispute with the country over its name, claiming that Macedonia might have territorial claims to Greece’s own region of the same name.

In the 1995 interim bilateral accord, Greece agreed that the term former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) would be applied to Macedonia until the dispute was settled.

Athens has been blocking Skopje's NATO and EU ambitions over the lack of agreement on the issue.

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