Saturday, July 26, 2008

Macedonian Trucker ‘Attacked’ in Greece

A Macedonian truck driver was attacked by several people carrying knifes near the northern Greek town of Thessaloniki, police in Skopje have announced.

The 59 year-old man’s truck was intercepted by another truck and forced to stop.

After this three people with knives forced the driver out of the vehicle.

The attackers scratched the MK markings on the back of the vehicle and then slit the rear cover of the truck (see picture). They shouted to the driver that his country’s name is not Macedonia but Skopje.

Since the beginning of the year this is the seventh case of reported abuse of Macedonian citizens in neighbouring Greece, police said.

The driver reported the incident to the Macedonian police upon his arrival on Macedonian soil.

Athens has previously said that any cases of abuse should be reported the right away and not after victims cross the border in order for Greek police to be more efficient.

In June four Macedonian truck drivers reported they were forced by Greek policemen to sweep the Dojrani border crossing with brooms in order to be given permits to leave Greece and return home to Macedonia.

Relations between the two countries hit a new low in April when Greece blocked Macedonia’s invitation to join NATO arguing that the country should change its name first. Athens argues the name Macedonia implies Skopje's territorial claims over Greece's own northern province of the same name.

So far the United Nations-sponsored talks which have been ongoing for 15 years have failed to provide a solution to the row.

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