Macedonia pro-opposition rally staged against name deal

Macedonia pro-opposition rally staged against name deal
A supporter of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party waves the old national flag during an anti-government protest march in Skopje, Macedonia, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. Thousands conservative opposition party supporters have marched peacefully late on Wednesday in Macedonia's capital Skopje, protesting leftist government policies, including the deal reached with Greece over the change of the country's name to North Macedonia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski) (Boris Grdanoski)

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Several thousand supporters of Macedonia's conservative opposition have marched through the capital Skopje to protest a proposed agreement with Greece to change the country's name to North Macedonia.

The conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, which governed between 2006 and 2016, renewed a demand Wednesday for an early election, arguing that the 18-month-old Social Democrat government was unable to deal with crises facing the country.

The protesters gathered outside the conservative party headquarters and marched past government buildings, chanting "Macedonia, Macedonia" and waving nationalist banners.

VMRO-DPMNe party leader Hristijan Mickoski addressed the rally, which ended peacefully.

Resolving the decades-old name dispute with Greece would clear obstacles for Macedonia to join NATO.

Hristijan Mickoski, center, the leader of the opposition conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, sings through a megaphone a patriotic song, while marching during an anti-government protest in Skopje, Macedonia, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. Thousands of conservative opposition party supporters have marched peacefully late on Wednesday in Macedonia's capital Skopje, protesting leftist government policies, including the deal reached with Greece over the change of the country's name to North Macedonia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Hristijan Mickoski, center, the leader of the opposition conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, sings through a megaphone a patriotic song, while marching during an anti-government protest in Skopje, Macedonia, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. Thousands of conservative opposition party supporters have marched peacefully late on Wednesday in Macedonia's capital Skopje, protesting leftist government policies, including the deal reached with Greece over the change of the country's name to North Macedonia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski) (AP)
Hristijan Mickoski, center, the leader of the opposition conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, takes a part in an anti-government protest outside the government building in Skopje, Macedonia, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. Thousands conservative opposition party supporters have marched peacefully late on Wednesday in Macedonia's capital Skopje, protesting leftist government policies, including the deal reached with Greece over the change of the country's name to North Macedonia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Hristijan Mickoski, center, the leader of the opposition conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, takes a part in an anti-government protest outside the government building in Skopje, Macedonia, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. Thousands conservative opposition party supporters have marched peacefully late on Wednesday in Macedonia's capital Skopje, protesting leftist government policies, including the deal reached with Greece over the change of the country's name to North Macedonia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski) (AP)
Hristijan Mickoski, center, the leader of the opposition conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, is marching with the supporters during an anti-government protest in Skopje, Macedonia, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. Thousands conservative opposition party supporters have marched peacefully late on Wednesday in Macedonia's capital Skopje, protesting leftist government policies, including the deal reached with Greece over the change of the country's name to North Macedonia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Hristijan Mickoski, center, the leader of the opposition conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, is marching with the supporters during an anti-government protest in Skopje, Macedonia, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. Thousands conservative opposition party supporters have marched peacefully late on Wednesday in Macedonia's capital Skopje, protesting leftist government policies, including the deal reached with Greece over the change of the country's name to North Macedonia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski) (AP)
Hristijan Mickoski, center, the leader of the opposition conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, rises his fists while marching during an anti-government protest in Skopje, Macedonia, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. Thousands conservative opposition party supporters have marched peacefully late on Wednesday in Macedonia's capital Skopje, protesting leftist government policies, including the deal reached with Greece over the change of the country's name to North Macedonia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Hristijan Mickoski, center, the leader of the opposition conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, rises his fists while marching during an anti-government protest in Skopje, Macedonia, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. Thousands conservative opposition party supporters have marched peacefully late on Wednesday in Macedonia's capital Skopje, protesting leftist government policies, including the deal reached with Greece over the change of the country's name to North Macedonia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski) (AP)
Hristijan Mickoski, the leader of the opposition conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, speaks to the supporters during an anti-government protest in Skopje, Macedonia, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. Thousands conservative opposition party supporters have marched peacefully late on Wednesday in Macedonia's capital Skopje, protesting leftist government policies, including the deal reached with Greece over the change of the country's name to North Macedonia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Hristijan Mickoski, the leader of the opposition conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, speaks to the supporters during an anti-government protest in Skopje, Macedonia, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. Thousands conservative opposition party supporters have marched peacefully late on Wednesday in Macedonia's capital Skopje, protesting leftist government policies, including the deal reached with Greece over the change of the country's name to North Macedonia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski) (AP)
Supporters of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party gather to an anti-government protest march in front of the party headquarters in Skopje, Macedonia, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. Thousands conservative opposition party supporters have marched peacefully late on Wednesday in Macedonia's capital Skopje, protesting leftist government policies, including the deal reached with Greece over the change of the country's name to North Macedonia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Supporters of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party gather to an anti-government protest march in front of the party headquarters in Skopje, Macedonia, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. Thousands conservative opposition party supporters have marched peacefully late on Wednesday in Macedonia's capital Skopje, protesting leftist government policies, including the deal reached with Greece over the change of the country's name to North Macedonia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski) (AP)
A supporter of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party waves the old national flag before an anti-government protest march in Skopje, Macedonia, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. Thousands conservative opposition party supporters have marched peacefully late on Wednesday in Macedonia's capital Skopje, protesting leftist government policies, including the deal reached with Greece over the change of the country's name to North Macedonia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
A supporter of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party waves the old national flag before an anti-government protest march in Skopje, Macedonia, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. Thousands conservative opposition party supporters have marched peacefully late on Wednesday in Macedonia's capital Skopje, protesting leftist government policies, including the deal reached with Greece over the change of the country's name to North Macedonia. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski) (AP)