Thousands flee migrant camps to cross border
Published 15/03/2016 | 02:30
More than 2,000 migrants and refugees stranded in Greece braved torrential rain and waded across a fast-flowing river to walk into neighbouring Macedonia, defying Europe's border closures.
In dramatic scenes, refugees held children and their belongings over their heads as they crossed thigh-deep in the water, while elderly migrants clutched ropes placed by volunteers to help them across.
But their time in Macedonia and planned journey on towards western Europe might be short-lived. Macedonian soldiers and police detained hundreds of people after they had just crossed from Greece and put them into trucks, authorities said.
Yesterday's events were the biggest challenge to border closures since the route from Greece to central Europe was sealed off 10 days ago, leaving more than 40,000 people stranded in Greece - and it came days before EU leaders try to hammer out a deal with Turkey to try to hold more refugees there.
The migrants walked out of the overcrowded camp of Idomeni on the Greek-Macedonian border yesterday, travelling west on foot.
Syrian Ibrahim Almad said he had been stuck in Greece for a month.
"My brother is in Stuttgart, in Germany, and I want to join him.
"Look at what they are making us do - look at all these women and children," he said, pointing towards other refugees.
Mr Almad was one of the many who walked from Idomeni, where 14,000 people remain camped out.