Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
Press Release
Rainbow Party Erects Macedonian Language Sign in Lerin/Florina


On Thursday, July 25, 2002 at approximately 1:00 pm, the Rainbow Party erected a sign outside their office in Lerin/Florina. The sign contained the text "Rainbow - European Movement” in Greek, Macedonian, and English.

That morning, Pavle Voskopoulos, member of the Political Secretariat of Rainbow, visited the public prosecutor with a written statement informing him of Rainbow's intention to hang up the sign. Rainbow also informed the police and the Ministry of Public Order.

The Rainbow Party first erected a bilingual sign (in Macedonian and Greek) on September 6, 1995. The public prosecutor immediately announced the indictment of the Rainbow leaders for having "incited discord among citizens” (Article 192 of the Greek Penal Code) through the use of the Macedonian language. The police were also ordered to remove the sign. On the night of September 13, a mob, led by the mayor of Lerin/Florina, attacked the Rainbow office and eventually destroyed it. The mob was never formally charged, while four members of Rainbow had to stand trial for "public use of their mother tongue”. Due to immense international pressure, they were eventually acquitted.

Click here for background on Greece's reaction to Rainbow's inclusion of Macedonian in their first sign.

As of August 8, 2002, the Rainbow Party's sign is still intact and no incidents have been reported.

Bill Nicholov
Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada
Address: P.O. Box 44532, 2376 Eglinton Ave. East, Toronto, Canada M1K 5K3
Tel: 416-493-9555 Fax: 416-412-3385
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