Saturday 1 October 2016

Protected by barbed wire, Macedonian police resort to shocking measures to drive off migrants desperately trying to cross border from Greece

Rose Troup Buchanan

Published 21/08/2015 | 11:34

A migrant man holding a boy react as they are stuck between Macedonian riot police officers and migrants during a clash near the border train station of Idomeni, northern Greece (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
A migrant man holding a boy react as they are stuck between Macedonian riot police officers and migrants during a clash near the border train station of Idomeni, northern Greece (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Riot police in Macedonia have reportedly fired tear gas and stun grenades on desperate migrants attempting to cross the border from Greece on Friday.

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From behind barbed wire, Macedonian officers used tear gas to drive back migrants who attempted to charge the border on Friday morning having spent the night in the open.

The small Balkan state declared a state of emergency on Thursday, placing its southern border on lock down as its government said it would deploy the military.

Approximately 3,000 migrants are reportedly caught in the dusty no-mans-land near the small Macedonian town of Gevgelija between the two countries after landing in Greece and attempting to make their way to wealthier European countries to the north.

Migrants hold up an injured individual after clashes with Macedonian police near the town of Idomeni on the Greek -Macedonian border on August 21, 2015. Macedonian police have reinforced control at the border with Greece in a bid to stop the influx of migrants, but a few hundred Syrians managed to cross the frontier overnight into August 21. Police prevented reporters to access a no-man's land where on August 20, officers had been in a standoff with about 1,500 migrants and refugees who wanted to cross into Macedonia. AFP PHOTO /SAKIS MITROLIDISSAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants hold up an injured individual after clashes with Macedonian police near the town of Idomeni on the Greek -Macedonian border on August 21, 2015. Macedonian police have reinforced control at the border with Greece in a bid to stop the influx of migrants, but a few hundred Syrians managed to cross the frontier overnight into August 21. Police prevented reporters to access a no-man's land where on August 20, officers had been in a standoff with about 1,500 migrants and refugees who wanted to cross into Macedonia. AFP PHOTO /SAKIS MITROLIDISSAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants wait to pass the Greek-Macedonian border guarded by Macedonian police near the town of Idomeni, northern Greece, on August 21, 2015. Macedonian police have reinforced control at the border with Greece in a bid to stop the influx of migrants, but a few hundred Syrians managed to cross the frontier overnight into August 21. Police prevented reporters to access a no-man's land where on August 20, officers had been in a standoff with about 1,500 migrants and refugees who wanted to cross into Macedonia. AFP PHOTO /SAKIS MITROLIDISSAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants clash with Macedonian police at the Greek-Macedonian border near the town of Idomeni, northern Greece, on August 21, 2015. Macedonian police have reinforced control at the border with Greece in a bid to stop the influx of migrants, but a few hundred Syrians managed to cross the frontier overnight into August 21. Police prevented reporters to access a no-man's land where on August 20, officers had been in a standoff with about 1,500 migrants and refugees who wanted to cross into Macedonia. AFP PHOTO /SAKIS MITROLIDISSAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants attempt to pass the Greek-Macedonian border guarded by Macedonian police near the town of Idomeni, northern Greece, on August 21, 2015. Macedonian police have reinforced control at the border with Greece in a bid to stop the influx of migrants, but a few hundred Syrians managed to cross the frontier overnight into August 21. Police prevented reporters to access a no-man's land where on August 20, officers had been in a standoff with about 1,500 migrants and refugees who wanted to cross into Macedonia. AFP PHOTO /SAKIS MITROLIDISSAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images
A migrant girlclashes with a Macedonian police officer near the town of Idomeni, northern Greece, on August 21, 2015. Macedonian police have reinforced control at the border with Greece in a bid to stop the influx of migrants, but a few hundred Syrians managed to cross the frontier overnight into August 21. Police prevented reporters to access a no-man's land where on August 20, officers had been in a standoff with about 1,500 migrants and refugees who wanted to cross into Macedonia. AFP PHOTO /SAKIS MITROLIDISSAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images
A migrants woman with childrens wait to pass the Greek-Macedonian border, guarded by Macedonian police near the town of Idomeni, northern Greece, on August 21, 2015. Macedonian police have reinforced control at the border with Greece in a bid to stop the influx of migrants, but a few hundred Syrians managed to cross the frontier overnight into August 21. Police prevented reporters to access a no-man's land where on August 20, officers had been in a standoff with about 1,500 migrants and refugees who wanted to cross into Macedonia. AFP PHOTO /SAKIS MITROLIDISSAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images
A migrant with a child attempts to pass the Greek-Macedonian border, guarded by Macedonian police near the town of Idomeni, northern Greece, on August 21, 2015. Macedonian police have reinforced control at the border with Greece in a bid to stop the influx of migrants, but a few hundred Syrians managed to cross the frontier overnight into August 21. Police prevented reporters to access a no-man's land where on August 20, officers had been in a standoff with about 1,500 migrants and refugees who wanted to cross into Macedonia. AFP PHOTO /SAKIS MITROLIDISSAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants wait to cross the Macedonian-Greek border near the town of Gevgelija on August 21, 2015. At least five migrants were slightly hurt August 21 when Macedonian police threw noise grenades to drive back refugees from the country's border with Greece, an AFP photographer at the scene said. More than 3,000 mostly Syrian refugees are stuck in no-man's land near the Greek village of Eidomeni after Macedonia August 20 declared a state of emergency and sent troops to help stem the flow of migrants attempting to cross the Balkan country to reach northern Europe. AFP PHOTO / ROBERT ATANASOVSKIROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images
A migrant man holding a boy react as they are stuck between Macedonian riot police officers and migrants during a clash near the border train station of Idomeni, northern Greece, as they wait to be allowed by the Macedonian police to cross the border from Greece to Macedonia, Friday, Aug. 21, 2015. Macedonian special police forces have fired stun grenades to disperse thousands of migrants stuck on a no-man's land with Greece, a day after Macedonia declared a state of emergency on its borders to deal with a massive influx of migrants heading north to Europe. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Migrants wait to cross the Macedonian-Greek border near the town of Gevgelija on August 21, 2015. At least five migrants were slightly hurt August 21 when Macedonian police threw noise grenades to drive back refugees from the country's border with Greece, an AFP photographer at the scene said. More than 3,000 mostly Syrian refugees are stuck in no-man's land near the Greek village of Eidomeni after Macedonia August 20 declared a state of emergency and sent troops to help stem the flow of migrants attempting to cross the Balkan country to reach northern Europe. AFP PHOTO / ROBERT ATANASOVSKIROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants wait to cross the Macedonian-Greek border near the town of Gevgelija on August 21, 2015. At least five migrants were slightly hurt August 21 when Macedonian police threw noise grenades to drive back refugees from the country's border with Greece, an AFP photographer at the scene said. More than 3,000 mostly Syrian refugees are stuck in no-man's land near the Greek village of Eidomeni after Macedonia August 20 declared a state of emergency and sent troops to help stem the flow of migrants attempting to cross the Balkan country to reach northern Europe. AFP PHOTO / ROBERT ATANASOVSKIROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants wait to cross the Greek-Macedonian border near the town of Idomeni, northern Greece on August 21, 2015. At least five migrants were slightly hurt August 21 when Macedonian police threw noise grenades to drive back refugees from the country's border with Greece, an AFP photographer at the scene said. More than 3,000 mostly Syrian refugees are stuck in no-man's land near the Greek village of Eidomeni after Macedonia August 20 declared a state of emergency and sent troops to help stem the flow of migrants attempting to cross the Balkan country to reach northern Europe. AFP PHOTO / SAKIS MITROLIDISSAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images
A baby sleeps in a tent while migrants wait to cross the Greek-Macedonian border near the town of Idomeni, northern Greece on August 21, 2015. At least five migrants were slightly hurt August 21 when Macedonian police threw noise grenades to drive back refugees from the country's border with Greece, an AFP photographer at the scene said. More than 3,000 mostly Syrian refugees are stuck in no-man's land near the Greek village of Eidomeni after Macedonia August 20 declared a state of emergency and sent troops to help stem the flow of migrants attempting to cross the Balkan country to reach northern Europe. AFP PHOTO / SAKIS MITROLIDISSAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants wait to cross the Macedonian-Greek border near the town of Gevgelija on August 21, 2015. At least five migrants were slightly hurt August 21 when Macedonian police threw noise grenades to drive back refugees from the country's border with Greece, an AFP photographer at the scene said. More than 3,000 mostly Syrian refugees are stuck in no-man's land near the Greek village of Eidomeni after Macedonia August 20 declared a state of emergency and sent troops to help stem the flow of migrants attempting to cross the Balkan country to reach northern Europe. AFP PHOTO / ROBERT ATANASOVSKIROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images
A migrant woman with children waits to pass the Greek-Macedonian border, guarded by Macedonian police near the town of Idomeni, northern Greece, on August 21, 2015. Macedonian police have reinforced control at the border with Greece in a bid to stop the influx of migrants, but a few hundred Syrians managed to cross the frontier overnight into August 21. Police prevented reporters to access a no-man's land where on August 20, officers had been in a standoff with about 1,500 migrants and refugees who wanted to cross into Macedonia. AFP PHOTO /SAKIS MITROLIDISSAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants wait to pass the Greek-Macedonian border, guarded by Macedonian police near the town of Idomeni, northern Greece, on August 21, 2015. Macedonian police have reinforced control at the border with Greece in a bid to stop the influx of migrants, but a few hundred Syrians managed to cross the frontier overnight into August 21. Police prevented reporters to access a no-man's land where on August 20, officers had been in a standoff with about 1,500 migrants and refugees who wanted to cross into Macedonia. AFP PHOTO /SAKIS MITROLIDISSAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants rest while waiting to pass the Greek-Macedonian border, guarded by Macedonian police near the town of Idomeni, northern Greece, on August 21, 2015. Macedonian police have reinforced control at the border with Greece in a bid to stop the influx of migrants, but a few hundred Syrians managed to cross the frontier overnight into August 21. Police prevented reporters to access a no-man's land where on August 20, officers had been in a standoff with about 1,500 migrants and refugees who wanted to cross into Macedonia. AFP PHOTO /SAKIS MITROLIDISSAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images

On Friday, police officers also allegedly used stun grenades in an attempt to disperse the crowds. Four people were reportedly injured in the ensuing chaos.

Supported by armoured vehicles, officers spread coils of razor wire over the rail tracks in an attempt to discourage migrants from crossing the border.

The passage via Gevgelija has been abruptly halted by the armed intervention. Reuters reported on Thursday how at the town's railway station migrants, who had already managed the fraught journey into Europe, passed their young children through the windows of packed trains en route to Serbia in a last-ditch effort to gain entry to northern Europe.

Interior Ministry spokesman Ivo Kotevski told the news agency that although they "cannot hermetically close the borders" they will attempt to "reduce illegal border entry to a minimum."

According to Macedonia’s Ministry of Interior almost 42,000 refugees have arrived in the country in the last two months in an attempt to reach northern European nations, such as Austria, Germany, Sweden or Britain.

(© Independent News Service)

Migrants rest while waiting to pass the Greek-Macedonian border, guarded by Macedonian police near the town of Idomeni, northern Greece AFP PHOTO /SAKIS MITROLIDISSAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants rest while waiting to pass the Greek-Macedonian border, guarded by Macedonian police near the town of Idomeni, northern Greece AFP PHOTO /SAKIS MITROLIDISSAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images

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