Demonstrators have reportedly clashed with police in Thessaloniki on Saturday, September 8, during a protest over an agreement made between Greece and Macedonia to change the latter's name. Police officers reportedly fired teargas at the protesters; the demonstration and associated clashes came ahead of a planned speech from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the city on Saturday and amid the opening of the International Trade Fair of Thessaloniki, scheduled to be held through Sunday, September 16.
A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are expected in the affected area in the coming hours. Further clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev agreed on June 12 to rename the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the Republic of North Macedonia. The agreement has been controversial in both Greece and Macedonia, spurring demonstrations in each country.
Past editions of the annual International Trade Fair of Thessaloniki have witnessed anti-austerity protests planned by Greek trade unions and organizations.
Individuals in Thessaloniki are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all demonstrations as a precaution, and avoid discussing sensitive political topics in public.