Miami - Europe’s Migrant crisis in Macedonia results in frightened and injured refugees held back by police.
Miami – Europe’s Migrant crisis in Macedonia results in frightened and injured refugees held back by police.
Thousands of migrants were dispersed by the use of force by the Macedonian riot police when trying to cross the Greek-Macedonian border. Police threw stun grenades and tear gas into the crowd leaving both children and adults injured and terrified.
The British Daily Mail reports in detail the events that left at least 8 refugees injured and thousands in despair. A youngster was found bleeding from “shrapnel” damages after being hit by a stun grenade as the crowd screamed “help us”. The outrage occurred near the border train station of Idomeni, northern Greece.
Photographs demonstrate the pain and suffering of these migrants whose look on their faces is enough to tell the story. Children are seen crying and holding on to each other as the police use shields to separate the masses. Officers with batons and heavy force “crush” refugees into the ground regardless of gender or age.
As the police applied force with their riot shields, at least 10 migrants were reported fainted. Some fell unconscious and were bleeding. Those who were still standing are pictured assisting the injured, including women and children who were separated from their parents.
Europe’s migrant crisis has overburdened several countries including Greece, Italy, Germany, France and Britain. Migrants from Middle East and Africa have crossed borders entering Europe. These refugees undergo harsh conditions in refugee camps waiting for days at the borders with little to no facilities. The same source quotes Jad, a 25-year old Syrian in the fields of Edomeni, “We are very angry because the police had told us they would let us through today. We are not animals”.
Migrants were unable to cross the border on foot, not even along the railroad tracks since police deterred them by throwing coils of razor wire all over the tracks.
Even though Macedonia has declared state of emergency, human rights organizations are against their violent measures. Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director, Gauri van Gulik expressed, “Macedonian authorities are responding as if they were dealing with rioters rather than refugees who have fled conflict and persecution. Every country has the power to patrol its own borders, but this kind of para-military response is an unacceptable push-back in violation of international law”.
On the other hand, Macedonian police spokesman Ivo Kotevski reiterated, “Police and the army will control a 30-mile stretch of the border to stop a massive influx of migrants coming from Greece”.
Macedonia’s Minister of the Interior said in a previous statement that a limited number of ‘vulnerable’ migrants would be allowed to cross the border. Police allegedly issued around 181 transit documents to migrants from Syria, Bangladesh and Pakistan after declaring the state of emergency.
Reportedly, Bulgaria has taken steps to control its borders as well to impede the flow of migrants. The Bulgarian Ministry of Defense issued a statement proposing “concrete measures to secure the state border together with the Interior Ministry”.
Before Macedonian police took harsher measures, the country had been witnessing illegal crossings of around 2,000 refugees daily. Most of these refugees are desperately entering Europe escaping conflict and persecution in Iraq, Syria and Libya.
The same source reports the Greek Coast Guard has picked up 620 refugees in 15 search-and-rescue operations in the last 24 hours, near several Greek islands. The number of migrants crossing Macedonia has reached 39,000 just in the last month, according to authorities.
Migrants’ stories are those of oppressed victims in search of freedom in European lands. A Syrian refugee with her husband and a baby shares, “We want to go to Germany to find a new life because everything has been destroyed in Syria”.
Refugees wait for days to board limited-space trains to be transported into Germany, Hungary and other European nations. Pictures depict migrants sleeping on the ground, others praying for freedom and hope after arriving aboard inflatable boats to the refugee camps.
Life for these migrants is very challenging even in the countries where they are given asylum. Germany has reported several attacks of hostility towards these refugees who are given space in overpopulated shelters accounting well over 800,000 individuals.
Conditions are worsening as locals and those against the refugee movement assault these shelters in disagreement. Those who venture into northern territories fear the town of Calais as they say “conditions are so appalling they would rather die trying to escape it and sneak into Britain by jumping onto trucks and Eurotunnel trains”.
The search for peace and freedom is filled with many setbacks and many lose their lives dreaming of a better future.