Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias recently received death threats when he said he expected the dispute to be resolved within months.
It is the second such protest in two weeks. On January 21, some 90,000 demonstrators rallied in Thessaloniki, the capital of the Macedonia region.
Organizers of February 4 protest estimated that 1.5 million people had attended but police said turnout was less than one tenth of that.
The dispute has simmered since Macedonia gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 and it has held up its attempts to join NATO and the EU.
Greece’s left-wing Syriza government says the issue is a diplomatic obstacle it wants resolved and has proposed agreeing to a composite name for the country which would include the word Macedonia but ensure a clear differentiation from the Greek region.
Macedonia argues that its people can be traced back to the ancient kingdom of Macedon, once ruled by Alexander the Great, and that the name “Macedonia” is therefore the logical option.
However, PM Zoran Zaev said last month that Macedonia would change the name of its airport from Skopje Alexander the Great airport, to show good will.
The Greek Orthodox Church backs the campaign to stop Macedonia using any variant of the name.
In organizations such as the UN, where talks have been under way, Macedonia is officially known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)
At home, the Macedonian government calls the country it administers simply “Republic of Macedonia”.
UN mediator Matthew Nimetz has suggested alternatives such as “Republic of New Macedonia”.
According to new reports, a proposal to name it “Republic of Macedonia-Skopje” was accepted by Greece but rejected by Macedonia.
Greece’s parliament has passed a second set of reforms, meaning that negotiations on an €86 billion European Union bailout can begin.
The reforms include changes to Greek banking and an overhaul of the judiciary system.
Thousands of protesters demonstrated outside of parliament as the bill was debated, with protests briefly turning violent as petrol bombs were thrown at police.
There had been fears of a rebellion by lawmakers but PM Alexis Tsipras was easily able to muster the support required. In total, the measures received 230 votes in favor and 63 against with five abstentions.
The debate ended at 04:00 local time.
Among those who voted against were 31 members of his own Syriza party. However, this represents a smaller rebellion than in last week’s initial vote.
Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis was one of those rebels in the first vote who returned to vote with the government this time.
Yanis Varoufakis wrote that he felt it was important to preserve the unity of the government, even if he believed the program was “designed to fail” by Greece’s creditors.
Speaking before the vote, Alexis Tsipras stressed that he was not happy with the measures that creditors had imposed.
“We chose a difficult compromise to avert the most extreme plans by the most extreme circles in Europe,” he told parliament.
Representatives of the European institutions that would provide the bailout funds will begin negotiations in Athens on July 24.
Last week, Greece passed an initial set of austerity measures imposed by its creditors. These were a mix of economic reforms and budget cuts demanded by the eurozone countries and institutions before bailout talks could continue.
This second set of measures passed early on Thursday morning were of a more structural nature, including:
a code of civil protection aimed at speeding up court cases
the adoption of an EU directive to bolster banks and protect savers’ deposits of less than €100,000
the introduction of rules that would see bank shareholders and creditors – not taxpayers – cover costs of a failed bank
More contentious measures – phasing out early retirement and tax rises for farmers – have been pushed back to August.
On July 22, the European Central Bank (ECB) increased its cash lifeline to Greek banks.
The emergency injection of an extra €900 million, the ECB’s second in a week, came just hours before the vote.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) confirmed on July 20 that Greece had cleared its overdue debt repayments of €2.05 billion and was no longer in arrears.
The repayments, which included €4.2 billion to the ECB, were made possible by a short-term EU loan of €7.16 billion.
Greece’s next major deadline is August 20, when it must pay €3.2 billion owed to the ECB, followed by a payment of €1.5 billion to the IMF in September.
The protest in Athens’ Syntagma Square – called by Greece’s public sector union – was reported to have been largely peaceful, until a number of petrol bombs were thrown in the direction of police.