A political dispute has arisen over the actual size of yesterday’s Athens protest against the use of the name Macedonia by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The clash was fueled by an aerial video released by Greek Police, which claimed there were only 140,000 people in attendance. The video was made public, but with the date and time that it was shot obliterated.
Opposition MPs and other protesters claim that the video was shot before the beginning of the huge demonstration. Civil Protection Minister Nikos Toskas said that the video was shot at 2:55 pm. He said that the date was erased because it was erroneous.
“The video was shot at the time of the largest attendance,” Toskas said.
The minister called on anyone who disputes the police figures to bring a topographer so that they may “count together” the size of the rally.
Toskas said that the video was shot because there were “monstrous” reports in the media, which spoke of one million protesters in Athens.
“We publicly released the video in order to establish the truth,” Toskas said, essentially conceding the political motive of answering the media behind the videotaping. Greek Police have almost never released aerial videos of major Athens demonstrations.
New Democracy MP Makis Voridis said the video was released by police for the purpose of drawing political conclusions. “I have never in my life seen a Greek Police video without the date and time showing on the tape,” he underlined.
The Pan-Hellenic Federation of Police Employees also disputed the Greek police figures, noting that the 140,000 figure would merely fill the OAKA stadium twice over