Thousands of right-wing opposition supporters in Macedonia protested against plans to change the country's name in the capital, Skopje, on Saturday.
Protesters waving Macedonian and party flags gathered in front of the main government building, with some holding banners reading "Macedonia will win."
Read more: Macedonia: What's in a name?
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said Wednesday that negotiations with Athens to resolve the 27-year-old dispute over the name were in "the final stages."
Athens has taken issue with the neighboring country's constitutional name, the Republic of Macedonia, because Greece has a northern province called Macedonia, and is concerned it may imply territorial ambitions.
The issue has hampered Macedonia's hopes of joining the European Union and NATO, as Greece has the power to veto its membership bid.
Read more: Opinion: Western Balkans have a place in the European Union
Thousands of protesters gathered outside the government building in the capital
Opposition party leader Hristijan Mickoski said his party, VMRO-DPMNE, would not support any constitutional bid to change the name of the country.
"We are very clear on this subject," Mickoski said during the protest march.
Name will include 'Macedonia'
The new name will almost certainly contain "Macedonia," something many Greeks oppose. Potential names include "New Macedonia" and "Upper Macedonia."
A senior Macedonian official said any name change agreed upon with Greece would have to be ratified by the parliament and then subjected to a referendum.
Despite objections from Greece, the country joined the United Nations in 1993 under the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, or FYROM for short.
Protests are also being planned for next week in northern Greece against what some see as a compromise solution being finalized between the Greek and Macedonian leaders.
As well as Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the geographic region of Macedonia extends into Albania, Bulgaria and Serbia as well as small areas of Kosovo (which you can't quite see here).
The ancient kingdom of Macedonia – or Macedon – was a relatively small part of the present day Greek province of Macedonia. It first expanded under King Perdiccas I, then widened to take in other areas.
A Roman province
After the fall of the Greek Empire, the Romans – who admired Alexander – used the old name Macedonia for the province encompassing much of northern Greece and the area north of it – including much of the modern-day Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
A shift to the east
With the breakup of the Roman Empire into East and West, this region was overrun by the Slavic invasions. An entirely new province far to the east, including part of Thrace in modern-day Turkey, was named Macedonia by the Byzantine Empress Irene of Athens.
Ottoman roots for current concept
The geographic region known as Macedonia today roughly equates to the part of the Ottoman Empire known as Ottoman Vardar Macedonia. It included Greek and Slavic areas and was split into three administrative units, but the concept of Macedonia persisted. This remained the case for centuries and so this concept – of what Macedonia is – has stuck.
Let's put that all together...
...and there's certainly a fair bit of overlap — and room for confusion.
Small matter of empire
Of course, Macedonia's King Alexander the Great's realm stretched all the way to India — but it would be a bit of a stretch to call that Macedonia
A heady mix of flavors
As if it weren’t complicated enough, there’s another meaning of the word Macedonia. In Greece and many Latin-language-speaking countries, it’s also a fruit salad. The name is thought to have ben popularized at the end of the 18th century, referring to either the ethnic diversity of Alexander's vast empire or the ethnic mix of Ottoman Macedonia.
law/cmk (AFP, Reuters)
Every evening at 1830 UTC, DW editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.