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

  • Blind woman robbed by stranger thanks Toronto for 'unbelievable' response

    Canada News CTV News
    A blind woman who said she was robbed by a stranger she bonded with during a bus trip from Sudbury to Toronto is overwhelmed by the outpouring of kindness since she shared her story with CTV News. Source
  • Police in Newfoundland defend national undercover operation aimed at sex trade

    Canada News CTV News
    ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Police in Newfoundland and Labrador are defending a national police operation aimed at finding victims of human trafficking working in the sex trade. Last week, the St. John's Status of Women Counsel issued a hard-hitting statement about Operation Northern Spotlight, saying it should be stopped because it targets sex workers for interrogation whether on not they want to leave the sex trade. Source
  • Thrift store pulls wrist-cutting Halloween prop

    Canada News CTV News
    Talize has agreed to pull a Halloween prop depicting wrist-cutting from its thrift store shelves across Canada, after outcry over the item’s depiction of suicide. The stick-on costume accessory depicts two seemingly bloody gashes across the wrist. Source
  • Airline apologizes to bed bug-bitten travellers

    Canada News CTV News
    A B.C. family who says they were bitten all over by bed bugs on a flight to England is now getting an apology from the airline. New Westminister resident Heather Szilagyi, her seven-year-old daughter Molly and her fiancé, Eric Neilson, were on an overnight British Airways flight from Vancouver to London earlier this month, when Szilagyi says she noticed bed bugs on the seat in front of her. Source
  • 8 students suspended after brawl near high school caught on video

    Canada News CTV News
    Eight students have been suspended and 30 others were sent home in the aftermath of a violent fight near an Ottawa high school this week, CTV News has learned. The brawl occurred between several students in a park near St. Source
  • Homeless B.C. nomads pitch tents at tony Oak Bay park after week at city hall

    Canada News CTV News
    OAK BAY, B.C. -- A nomadic group of homeless people has chosen one of Canada's wealthiest communities to pitch some tents and draw attention to housing shortages for disadvantaged people across British Columbia. The latest location for the wandering group of 15 people is Willows Park, a seaside recreation area in the Victoria suburb of Oak Bay, known for its tea rooms, elderly population and turn-of-century mansions worth millions. Source
  • Families of fallen have mixed experiences with Trump, if any

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Some got sympathy and solace. Some got silence. One got a promise of cash. Relatives of people who died in military service have recounted varied interactions with U.S. President Donald Trump in the difficult days and weeks after their loved one's death. Source
  • Tourists wonder if they were also victims of Cuba sound attack

    World News CTV News
    CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Chris Allen's phone started buzzing as word broke that invisible attacks in Cuba had hit a U.S. government worker at Havana's Hotel Capri. Allen's friends and family had heard an eerily similar story from him before. Source
  • Spain ready to revoke Catalan autonomy amid independence bid

    World News CTV News
    BARCELONA, Spain -- Spain's government on Thursday immediately rejected a threat by Catalonia's leader to explicitly declare independence unless talks are held, calling a special Cabinet session for the weekend to activate measures to take control of the region's semi-autonomous powers. Source
  • Pakistani court indicts former PM Nawaz Sharif on corruption charges

    World News CBC News
    A Pakistani court on Thursday indicted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as well as his daughter and son-in-law on corruption charges stemming from documents leaked from a Panama law firm. A lawyer for the 67-year-old Sharif, who is currently in London, where his wife is receiving medical treatment, entered a plea of not guilty. Source