Violent clashes as rioting migrants storm Greek border and tear down barbed wire fence

Friday, November 27, 2015
By Paul Martin

HUNDREDS of migrants from North Africa and the Middle East have clashed with police in the Macedonian-Greek border today, after tearing down the barbed wire fence at the crossing between the two countries.

Fri, Nov 27, 2015

The group, comprised mainly of Algerians, Pakistanis and Moroccans, were part of the estimated 1,500 migrants who have been stuck near Greece’s northern border town of Idomeni, waiting for their opportunity to proceed to the wealthier countries of northern Europe.

They might have to wait for a while, however, as Balkan countries have implemented tougher rules on who qualifies for refugee status. Under the new measures, only those fleeing conflict in Syria, Iraq and Aghanistan will be allowed passage.

The move by Macedonia, Croatia and Serbia comes amid mounting concern that those claiming to be fleeing conflict in the Middle East and parts of Africa are in fact economic migrants.

Today’s clashes saw some of the migrants throw stones at the police while shouting: “We want to go to Germany.”

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said the atmosphere at the Macedonian-Greek border is “tense,” with some Iranian migrants resorting to sewing their lips in protest of the border closure.

In a joint statement earlier this week, IOM, the UN Commision for Refugees (UNHCR) and Unicef, said the latest restrictions imposed by the Balkan states are deeply worrying.

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