THE TRADITIONAL GATHERING HELD IN TRNOVO
July 26th, 1998
On the 26th of July, the traditional gathering of Macedonians from the Aegean part of Macedonia, (the Greek province of Macedonia) took place. This was an all-Macedonian meeting of the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia and Macedonians from Greece. The event took place in the area of Trnovo, near Bitola close to the Greek - Macedonian border. It was organized by the Association of Macedonians from the Aegean part of Macedonia, with its headquarters in Bitola.
About 10 000 people participated in this 18th consecutive gathering. This included people who live in several European countries, the United States, Australia, Canada as well as representatives of several Macedonian organizations from other Balkan countries including "RAINBOW" (Vinozhito - Greece), "OMO Ililnden" (Bulgaria), "Prespa" (Albania), and "Mir" (Albania).
Many representatives from Macedonian political life were present, as well as representatives from the Macedonian Orthodox Church and the Cultural Literary Society of Emigrants. The Divine Liturgy was performed by the Metropolitan Petar in remembrance of all the victims in the struggle for freedom. The President of the organizing association, Mr. Aleksandar Popovski, addressed the crowds as well.
According to the newspaper, "Vecher," Mr. Popovski reminded the attendees that the basic rights and freedoms of the Macedonians are usurped in Greece. The Republic of Greece, even though it is a signatory to the Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, continues to discriminate against the Macedonians in that country, and does not enact the Convention into practice. This is the single issue of concern for the organizing association, stressed Mr. Popovski. He sent a message to the Macedonians in Greece, Bulgaria and Albania asking them to respect all the laws of those countries and to be their loyal citizens, assessing that Europe must push these states into respecting the rights and freedoms of the Macedonian minorities that live there.