A gathering of citizens took place this past Sunday afternoon outside the city hall of Thessaloniki, demanding the resignation of Thessaloniki’s controversial, globalist mayor Yiannis Boutaris.
The demonstration, organized through social media channels, was called following repeated comments Boutaris has made with regard to the Macedonia name dispute.
Referencing the massive rally regarding the Macedonia dispute that was organized in Thessaloniki on Sunday, January 21, Boutaris stated that “in Skopje no rallies are being organized, we [Greeks] will never learn,” while describing the rally as “devoid of substance” and “harmful for negotiations” between the two countries.
Boutaris has also infamously suggested that Macedonia Airport and the Macedonia Bus Terminal of Thessaloniki should both be renamed and that “foreign tourists get confused and think they are arriving in the neighboring country.”
A favorite of neoliberals worldwide, Boutaris has received repeated positive press coverage from establishment outfits such as The Guardian, The New York Times, The Telegraph, Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, NPR, and Global Risk Insights, while he was shortlisted for World Mayor 2014. He has characterized Greece as a “Soviet-type society;” stated that he is ashamed to be Greek; called himself a “star mayor;” and has repeatedly referred to FYROM as “Macedonia.”
The truth of the matter though is that despite the broad reach of the social media invitation for this protest, in which over 30,000 people stated that they were “interested” in attending and 9,200 people stated that they would attend, the protest itself attracted only approximately 130 people, just weeks after hundreds of thousands of Greeks flooded downtown Thessaloniki for one of the largest protests in the history of both the city and the country. The protest itself had been quietly rescheduled, after initially having been slated to take place ον February 26.
While barely over 100 individuals could be bothered to come out and rally against Boutaris, on the very same day in Thessaloniki, over 300 fans of the Aris basketball club took to the streets to protest the postponement of that day’s game against local rival PAOK, due to security concerns stemming from the waging of the now-infamous PAOK-AEK football match that same day. In addition, 800 PAOK fans were able to organize themselves to march through the streets of the Toumba district of Thessaloniki towards PAOK FC Arena for the aforementioned football game.
In other words, another sign of the apathy that has set in during the years of the crisis in Greece, apathy which has been overcome only on rare occasions, such as the recent Macedonia rallies in Thessaloniki and Athens.
Video from the protest:
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.