GREEK ARMY CLASHES WITH MACEDONIANS
One Macedonian has minor injuries and four have been arrested, after incidents which took place yesterday in the area surrounding Lerin (Florina). Eleven days ago, after the requests from the local population, the Greek army withdrew from its training camp near the village of 'Zabrdeni'. Today, the Greek army returned to the region.
This time, the Greek army came with a strong police presence as well as tanks and other large automotive machines.
The Greek police specialists intervened when the local ethnic Macedonian population tried to stop the Greek army from setting up camp and heavy-military training right next to their village.
"They were arresting people and sending them to jail. They have four so far and by nightfall, they will surely arrest more", said a Macedonian from the Lerin region.
One man, an ethnic Macedonian, has been injured during the pushing and shoving, whilst four (4) ethnic Macedonians were arrested.
It is expected that trumped-up charges will be laid against them as early as this evening, for alleged assault on uniformed officers. According to Greek laws, one may face a few years in prison for such offences.
Macedonians from a few villages surrounding Lerin including Zabrdeni and Ovcharani are still in position blocking the path to the new training camp of the Greek army.
"We are sitting and lying down in front of the tanks, the people do not want the army to conduct its training with all this heavy weaponry. There are some 150-200 policemen here and those numbers will be strengthened, they will bring in the specialists. The village is Macedonian, it is called Zabrdeni", announced an ethnic Macedonian from the village.
After the last incidents which took place ten days ago, local leaders made an agreement with the army that in its actions in the region, it would not destroy the crop-growing fields, it would not use heavy vehicles and it would not use live ammunition for target practice, near the populated areas.
However, without any prior announcement, the Greek Government sent a new contingent of soldiers reinforced with police, who today created an incident in the Lerin (Florina) region. Local Members of Parliament were not informed of these activities by the Greek army, despite their parliamentary requests last week for the army not to disturb the peace of the local population in this region.
In stark contrast to the actions of the Greek army who withdrew without any problems, because of protests in the Peloponnese and other places, this time in Aegean Macedonia, the Greek Government has