The Australian Hellenic Council (AHC) has lashed out at recent scenes of flag burning by “radical ultra-nationalists” at protests over the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Organizers of the pro-FYROM rallies in Sydney and Melbourne could also find themselves in court as another Greek-Australian organization mulls legal action over flag burning and other anti-Greek outbursts.
In a statement, the AHC said it welcomed moves by Skopje, such as renaming its international airport and major highway, but said such steps took place in an atmosphere of “Greek flags being burned in the streets of Melbourne and Greeks being racially vilified”.
It added: “The issue of the Macedonian name should not be the domain of such extremists and jingoists who are content to resort to populist and ultranationalist rhetoric, including the use of derisive symbols (such as Nazi insignia) and racist hate speech, to incite violence and hatred.
“The ugly face of Balkanisation has no place in Australia.”
Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are in negotiations over the naming of Greece’s northern neighbor, a dispute that started in 1992.