By Matthew Miller
ATHENS, Greece — With the theme from Rocky playing in the background, vendors on June 17 hawked everything from patriotic banners to Mickey Mouse balloons at a protest at Syntagma Square that ended with riot police teargassing members of the crowd of up to 5,000 protestors.
A range of vendors profited off of the cheerful atmosphere that prevailed earlier in the day. Greek men, women and children gathered at Syntagma Square outside the Hellenic Parliament to protest a recent deal to change the name of the nation of Macedonia to the Republic of North Macedonia. Greece claims historical ownership of the Macedonian name and has blocked Macedonia’s membership in the European Union and NATO over the naming dispute. President Alexis Tsipras of Greece and President Zoran Zaev of Macedonia reached an agreement to rename Macedonia in exchange for Greece’s official recognition. This agreement sparked right-wing protests in both nations as protestors complained that their government traded away their country’s claim to the name Macedonia.