Wednesday 22 February 2017

In pictures: Desperation as 2,000 migrants rush past Macedonian police at Greek border

Press Association

Published 22/08/2015 | 19:47

A migrant holds a child under the rain close to the border crossing between Greece and Macedonia, near the village of Idomeni, Greece, August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis
A migrant holds a child under the rain close to the border crossing between Greece and Macedonia, near the village of Idomeni, Greece, August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis
A migrant holds a child as they rest close to the border crossing between Greece and Macedonia, near the village of Idomeni, Greece, August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis
Macedonian police stand guard in front of migrants close to the border crossing between Greece and Macedonia, near the village of Idomeni, Greece, August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis
Migrants shelter from the rain close to the border crossing between Greece and Macedonia, near the village of Idomeni, Greece, August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis

About 2,000 migrants have rushed past baton-wielding police who were attempting to block them from entering Macedonia from Greece and several people were injured in the commotion.

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The tumult started when police decided to allow a small group of migrants with young children to cross the frontier and crowds in the back squeezed them towards the shielded police wall.

Many women, at least one pregnant, and children fell to the ground apparently fainting after squeezing past the cordon.

Then, thousands of others used the moment to run across a field not protected by barbed wire to enter Macedonia. Police fired stun grenades but did not manage to stop the rush.

A migrant holds the hand of a woman carrying a child, as they walk towards Gevgelija, Macedonia after crossing Greece's border into Macedonia, August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski
A migrant holds the hand of a woman carrying a child, as they walk towards Gevgelija, Macedonia after crossing Greece's border into Macedonia, August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski
A migrant holds a baby before walking towards Gevgelija in Macedonia after crossing Greece's border, Macedonia August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski
Migrants are blocked by Macedonian special police forces as they try to cross Greece's border into Macedonia, near the village of Idomeni, Greece, August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis
Migrants gather at Gevgelija train station in Macedonia after crossing Greece's border, Macedonia, August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski
A migrant cries and walks towards Gevgelija in Macedonia after crossing Greece's border, Macedonia, August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski
Migrants shelter from the rain close to the border crossing between Greece and Macedonia, near the village of Idomeni, Greece, August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis
Migrants fall as they make their way through police to cross Greece's border into Macedonia near Gevgelija, Macedonia, August 22, 2015. Thousands of migrants stormed across Macedonia's border on Saturday, overwhelming security forces who threw stun grenades and lashed out with batons in an increasingly futile bid to stem their flow through the Balkans to western Europe. Some had spent days in the open with little or no access to food or water after Macedonia on Thursday declared a state of emergency and sealed its borders to migrants, many of them refugees from war in Syria and other conflicts in the Middle East. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski
Migrants arrive at the railway station in the southern Macedonia's town of Gevgelija, after breaking through the police blockade on the border with Greece, on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Migrants arrive at the railway station in the southern Macedonia's town of Gevgelija, after breaking through the police blockade on the border with Greece, on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. About 39,000 people have been registered as passing through Macedonia in the past month, twice as many as the month before and overwhelming Macedonian authorities who have declared a state of emergency. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Migrants arrive at the railway station in the southern Macedonia's town of Gevgelija, after breaking through the police blockade on the border with Greece, on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Migrants arrive at the railway station in the southern Macedonia's town of Gevgelija, after breaking through the police blockade on the border with Greece, on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
A migrant holds a child under the rain close to the border crossing between Greece and Macedonia, near the village of Idomeni, Greece, August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis
Migrants walk towards Gevgelija train station in Macedonia after crossing Greece's border, Macedonia, August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski
Migrants are blocked by Macedonian special police forces as they try to cross Greece's border into Macedonia, near the village of Idomeni, Greece, August 22, 2015. Thousands of migrants stormed across Macedonia's border on Saturday, overwhelming security forces who threw stun grenades and lashed out with batons in an increasingly futile bid to stem their flow through the Balkans to western Europe. Some had spent days in the open with little or no access to food or water after Macedonia on Thursday declared a state of emergency and sealed its borders to migrants, many of them refugees from war in Syria and other conflicts in the Middle East. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis

There were no immediate reports of the number and extent of injuries. Several children also lost their parents in the chaos and were left shouting "mama, baba".

It was the second day of clashes between the migrants and Macedonian police who are attempting to block them from heading north towards the European Union.

On Friday, police fired stun grenades and clashed with the migrants who tried to rush over the border, a day after Macedonia's government declared a state of emergency on the frontier to stop the human tide. At least 10 people were injured in the melee.

Both Greece and Macedonia have seen an unprecedented wave of migrants this year, most fleeing wars in Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq.

A migrant covers his face to avoid inhaling tear gas while others flee, as Macedonian police special forces block them from entering Macedonia on Greece's, near the village of Idomeni, Greece, August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis
A migrant covers his face to avoid inhaling tear gas while others flee, as Macedonian police special forces block them from entering Macedonia on Greece's, near the village of Idomeni, Greece, August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis
A migrant walks towards Gevgelija in Macedonia after crossing Greece's border, Macedonia, August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski

More than 160,000 have arrived so far in Greece, mostly crossing in inflatable dinghies from the nearby Turkish coast - an influx that has overwhelmed Greek authorities and the country's small Aegean islands. Some 45,000 crossed through Macedonia over the past two months.

Few, if any, of the migrants want to remain in Greece, which is in the grip of a financial crisis.

Most head straight to the country's northern border with Macedonia, where they cram on to trains and head north through Serbia and Hungary on their way to the more prosperous EU countries such as Germany, the Netherlands or Sweden.

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