Protected by barbed wire, Macedonian police resort to shocking measures to drive off migrants desperately trying to cross border from Greece
Published 21/08/2015 | 11:34
Riot police in Macedonia have reportedly fired tear gas and stun grenades on desperate migrants attempting to cross the border from Greece on Friday.
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.
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)