EFA - Rainbow opens office in Edessa/Voden
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Uploaded on Nov 27, 2009
The European Free Alliance Rainbow, the political party of the Macedonian minority of Greece, opened an office today in the main street of Edessa/Voden in Northern Greece.
The special ceremony was attended by many party members and supporters. A bilingual sign (in Greek and Macedonian) with the words Ε.Ε.Σ — ΟΥΡΑΝΙΟ ΤΟΞΟ, ΕΠΙΤΡΟΠΗ ΕΔΕΣΣΑΣ and Е.C.A — ВИНОЖИТО, ВОДЕНСКИ КОМИТЕТ was displayed on the balcony of the office.
The decision to open an office in Edessa/Voden was in response to the increasing interest in EFA-Rainbow in the town itself and the surrounding areas. The move is also part of the partys strategic plans to expand on its activities in Central Macedonia, a region where a significant number of ethnic Macedonians and Macedonian speakers reside.
After the official opening of the Edessa/Voden office today, the Central Council of the party held a meeting at which it agreed to send a letter to recently elected Prime Minister Papandreou for a meeting and the party sincerely hopes that the invitation will be accepted and that dialogue between the government and the Macedonian minority will finally begin.
The Press Office
Note: The Edessa/Voden office is EFA-Rainbows second office in Northern Greece. The first office was opened on 6 September 1995 in the town of Florina/Lerin. However on that occasion, the office was broken into and ransacked, and the bilingual sign Rainbow Party, Florina Committee was stolen. The sign was replaced but on the 12 September 1995 priests from the Florina/Lerin region called on people to join a demonstration to protest against the enemies of Greece who arbitrarily display signs with anti-Hellenic inscriptions. The statement also called for the deportation of those responsible. On 13 September 1995 the offices of the party were attacked by a number of people, including the mayor of Florina/Lerin. The vandals broke into the premises, assaulted those inside and confiscated the sign. During the course of the night equipment and furniture on the premises were thrown out the window and set alight. Soon after, four members of the party were charged with causing and inciting mutual hatred among the citizens under Article 192 of the Greek Penal Code. After significant international pressure the charges were dropped. In 2005, the European Court of Human Rights found the Greek government to be in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights by restricting party members freedom of assembly (Article 11) and failing to provide due process within reasonable time (Article 6). The Greek government was ordered to pay €35,000 in compensation to EFA Rainbow. As a result of EFA-Rainbows efforts, today the bilingual sign in Greek and Macedonian at the front of the partys headquarters in Florina/Lerin is freely displayed, without interference.
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