Multiple groups are expected to stage demonstrations in Skopje on Thursday, September 27, and Sunday, September 30, to protest the upcoming September 30 referendum on whether to change the country's name. Protesters reportedly plan to gather at Parliament House at 19:00 (local time) on both September 27 and September 30, and at Square Macedonia at 19:00 on September 30. A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected near protests.
On June 20, Macedonia's parliament ratified an agreement with Greece, which would see Macedonia formally change its name to Republic of North Macedonia, replacing Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The change is intended to end a 27-year-long dispute with Greece over the name, and clear the way for Macedonia's entry to the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The conflict has stemmed from Greece's claim that the name "Macedonia" connotes aspirations for the territorial annexation of the eponymous northern Greek region, and appropriates the history of ancient Macedonia once ruled by the Greek Alexander the Great. The name change has been controversial in both Greece and Macedonia, spurring demonstrations in each country.
Individuals in the abovementioned areas are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all demonstrations as a precaution, and avoid discussing sensitive political topics in public.
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