“Under the brassy stare of an equestrian Alexander the Great statue, 3,000 people gathered near the ancient Greek ruler’s birthplace Wednesday to demand that Greece takes a tough stance with Macedonia in talks over the neighboring country’s name.

The peaceful rally in the northern village of Pella was the best attended of 25 events organized in provincial towns across Greece by hardliners opposing any use of the name Macedonia by the small republic to the north.

Alexander was born in the 4th century B.C. and ruled the ancient kingdom of Macedon, most of which later became the Greek province of Macedonia. Since Macedonia the country gained independence from the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the Greek government has insisted the name implies a territorial claim on its province.

‘Respect history, respect Greece,’ read a banner at Wednesday’s rally in the Pella village square, about a mile from the ruins of ancient Pella where Alexander was born. Another sign proclaimed, ‘You are born a Macedonian, you don’t become one.'” (US News and World Report)