Tempers flare as migrants stuck at Greek-Macedonian border

IDOMENI, Greece -- Macedonian police fired tear gas and stun guns Monday as several hundred Iraqi and Syrian refugees, frustrated at days of delays in crossing the Greek-Macedonian border, broke down a gate on a nearby rail crossing.

See Full Article

Thousands of people have been stuck for days at Greece's northern border, overflowing from a packed refugee camp at Idomeni into the surrounding fields as they waited for Macedonian authorities to let them continue their trek through the Balkans. Only a tiny trickle of people from specific countries have been allowed to cross every day.

The migrants had earlier pushed their way past Greek police to reach the gate, chanting "Open the border!" and "We want to go to Serbia!" the next country north on the Balkan migration route leading into Western Europe.

No arrests or injuries were reported in Monday's clashes.

About 6,500 Syrian and Iraqi refugees are camped at or near the Idomeni crossing, with another 500 moved to a hastily erected camp on a small concrete landing strip 20 kilometres (13 miles) away.

Macedonian police opened the crossing to receive about 50 people just before midday Monday, after keeping it closed for eight hours, but closed it again after the clashes.

The Idomeni crossing is a key point on the mass migration route that has prompted a major Europe-wide crisis. More than a million people have entered the continent since January 2015 -- mostly arriving in small smugglers' boats from Turkey on Greece's eastern Aegean Sea islands.

After first sending welcoming messages, European authorities are now struggling to handle the situation. Hungary has fenced off its borders, refusing to accept any migrants, and other eastern European countries say they will not take in anyone under an EU refugee-sharing deal. In recent weeks Austria -- at the end of the Balkan corridor -- has severely restricted the inflow of migrants, causing a domino effect through the Balkans. Many countries are now refusing to let Afghan refugees in, although U.N. authorities say no one has explained to them who made this decision or why.

Macedonia has said it will only allow in as many people as Serbia accepts. This has led to a huge bottleneck in Greece, where authorities say more than 22,000 people are stuck and hundreds more are arriving every day.

At Idomeni, 45-year-old Syrian refugee Nidal Jojack said she has been camped out with her family for three days and nights.

"Very many people were forced to sleep in the open, without tents, wrapped in blankets," she said. "It was very cold. The borders are effectively closed, it's a huge problem."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Mueller obtains thousands of Trump transition emails

    World News CBC News
    Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian contacts with U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign has gained access to thousands of emails sent and received by Trump officials before the start of his administration, according to several people familiar with Trump's transition organization. Source
  • Thousands of North Koreans mourn 6th anniversary of Kim Jong Il's death

    World News CTV News
    PYONGYANG, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of - Crowds of flower-bearing North Koreans have streamed passed statues and portraits of their leaders to pay respects on the sixth anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Un's father, Kim Jong Il. Source
  • At least 5 dead after mudslide hits Chilean village

    World News CBC News
    A mudslide on Saturday tore through a small village in southern Chile near a popular national park, leaving five people dead and at least 15 missing after a night of torrential downpours, authorities said.Chile earthquake kills 6, causes limited damageA video taken from a helicopter by Chilean police showed a vast swath of the remote town of Villa Santa Lucia, near Chaiten in coastal Patagonia, buried beneath the mud as the landslide plowed its way down a flooded river valley. Source
  • Two couples tie the knot in Australia in first same-sex weddings

    World News CTV News
    SYDNEY, Australia - Two female couples have tied the knot in Australia's first same-sex weddings under new legislation allowing gay marriages. January 9 had been expected to be the first possible date for same-sex weddings due to a four-week waiting period. Source
  • Pilot of small plane found dead after he was reported overdue in Manitoba

    Canada News CTV News
    BALDUR, Man. - Police in Manitoba say the pilot of a small plane that was reported overdue on Friday has been found dead. RCMP say a 60-year-old man was flying alone in his personal Piper aircraft from Gillam, Man. Source
  • Mueller investigation obtains thousands of Trump transition emails

    World News CTV News
    U.S. President Donald Trump talks with reporters as he departs from the South Lawn of the White House via Marine One in Washington, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, to spend the weekend at Camp David in Maryland. (AP Photo / Susan Walsh) Source
  • Actresses call out Matt Damon for sexual harassment comments

    World News CBC News
    Actresses Alyssa Milano and Minnie Driver are criticizing Matt Damon for comments he made this week about the "culture of outrage" over sexual misconduct. In an interview with ABC's Popcorn with Peter Travers, the Suburbicon actor said he believes there's a "spectrum of behaviour" which requires different reactions. Source
  • Libya's coast guard rescues over 270 migrants

    World News CTV News
    TRIPOLI, Libya -- Libyan coast guards rescued at least 270 migrants off the country's shores, a Navy official said on Saturday, bringing to over 450 the total number of migrants they've rescued in less than a week. Source
  • Rahul Gandhi takes over India's opposition Congress party

    World News CTV News
    NEW DELHI -- Rahul Gandhi, the scion of India's most famous political dynasty, took over as president of the main opposition Congress party on Saturday while facing a stiff challenge from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Hindu nationalists. Source