Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
Nationalistic Madness in Florina "bazaar"

Press Release
Florina/Lerin 17/10/2007

On Wednesday October 17, 2007 four relatives, two Greek citizens and two Australian citizens (mother and son) of Macedonian descent originally from the village Itea/Vrbeni of Florina/Lerin Prefecture went shopping at the local bazaar in Florina/Lerin.
Mother and son being non-Greek speakers and their relatives being non-English speakers the group carried on conversations in Macedonian, their mother tongue.
As luck would have it they crossed paths with what appeared to be an on duty plain clothes security officer who caught them in the act of speaking Macedonian.

The security officer followed the group for more than half an hour before he approached them and asked the mother and son for identification. The officer did not show his identification. When they asked why they were being questioned, the officer told them they appeared to look suspicious because they were speaking a foreign tongue.

The two did not have their passports with them at the time so the officer demanded that they accompany him to the police station to further investigate their identity. It also appeared that his main concern was why didn't mother and son speak Greek?

The two Greek citizen relatives intervened on mother and son's behalf and advised the officer that they did not know that it was compulsory for them to speak Greek! They told him that they did not carry their passports with them for fear of losing them. They also demanded to know from all the people in the bazaar why they were the only ones being exclusively isolated. The officer replied that "...they were looking for something."

A while later, another man arrived and started questioning the group. As mother and son kept silent from fear of being detained, the man showed his identification.

Being caught speaking Macedonian may be a cause for the Greek State to blacklist individuals, especially family members of Greek Civil War Macedonian refugees now living in Canada and Australia. Being blacklisted means one is accused of committing crimes against the national interests of the state and is forever barred from entering Greece again. In other words speaking Macedonian in Greece is a national crime.

After witnessing this episode, people living in that Prefecture are wondering if they are under some sort of "special status" because there are 562 uniformed policemen on duty to police 50,000 inhabitants. Perhaps they are there to impose "order" and make sure people conform to the "national ideals" of the state.

And all this is happening in Greece, the cradle of democracy in the 21st century.


Rainbow Party/Vinozhito
Political Party of the Macedonian Minority in Greece
Member of the European Free Alliance - European Political Party
Member of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (F.U.E.N.)

Stephanou Dragoumi 11
PO Box 51
53100 Florina, Greece
Tel/Fax: ++ 23850 46548