Greek police has started removing Afgan refugees from the Eidomeni border railway lines this morning after additional passage restrictions imposed by Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia authorities left hundreds of them stranded.
Attica is hosting a very large number of refugees who have been stranded in Greece. Eleonas, Schisto and Ellinikon shelters are operating in full capacity, while another 1 thousand 2 hundred refugees are due at Piraeus port this morning.
More than 5 thousand people stranded at Eidomeni borders
More than 5,000 people were stuck at or near the border and at one point several tried to storm the fence. Four thousand more arrived by sea from the Aegean islands at Piraeus port.
Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia said on Sunday it was following other governments by allowing in only Syrians and Iraqis.
The μοβε φρομ FYROM came three days after Austria imposed a daily limit of 80 asylum claims on its southern border.
Although EU officials said the Austrian limit was incompatible with human rights conventions, Balkan states along the migrant route from Greece responded by implementing their own restrictions.
In the past year, the vast majority of migrants and refugees arriving in Europe have taken the route through Greece, in the hope of claiming asylum in Germany or other EU countries. More than 1.1 million people arrived in Germany alone in 2015.
EU police agency Europol said on Monday that 90% of them had used a “facilitation service”, offered mainly by criminal smuggling groups.
More than 5,000 people had gathered by Monday morning at the Eidomeni crossing or on buses a few miles away.
Some 600 Afghans staged a protest, holding up banners that read “Open the border”, but then a crowd broke through a Greek cordon and gathered at the fence.
Many protesters stormed the fence and sat on a railway line in no-man’s land. Several climbed through barbed wire before being arrested.
Greece’s junior immigration minister said he was hopeful the issue would soon be resolved with Macedonia. The Athens government fears the new restrictions will prompt a build-up of migrants and refugees on its territory, the BBC notes.