Far-Right Group Tries to Bust Up Greek Minority Party Meeting
May 30, 2004
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Greek police clashed Sunday with a group of 150 far-right militants
who tried to force their way into a political meeting of a party representing
the country's ethnic Macedonian minority.
The rightwingers, shouting nationalist slogans, were pushed back by
officers who used tear gas to disperse the crowd in Salonika, said the
northern city's police chief Costas Tzekis.
The group burned a poster belonging to the Rainbow party, then dispersed,
The Rainbow party is part of the European Free Alliance, an EU-wide
grouping of small parties seeking devolution or more autonomy for their
area, and was meeting to prepare for the upcoming European Parliament
elections on June 13.
Michel Mayol of Spain, one of nine EFA-allied EU parliamentary deputies,
was attending the Salonika meeting, organizers said.
The group is allied in the European Parliament with the much larger
Its Greek chapter has been targeted by conservatives and ultra-nationalists
for its views, and organizations defending minority rights have denounced
several attacks on it by far-rightists.
Panayotis Psomiadis, the conservative regional governor in Salonika,
Greece's second-largest city, on Thursday labeled the Rainbow grouping "undesirable",
saying it was organized by an association "which holds anti-national
Greece does not officially recognize its Macedonian minority, although
it does recognize the existence of tens of thousands of ethnic Slavs
living in the north, near the border with the former Yugoslav republic