By Liz Alderman and Dimitris Bounias. It was a scene of a type that could become all too common in coming months: Thousands of increasingly desperate people backed up at the frontier between Greece and Macedonia on Monday, stymied in their efforts to reach Germany. A group of angry asylum seekers busted through a razor-wire fence. Armed police officers fired tear gas as frenzied crowds chanted, “Open the border!”
Less than a week after Austria and nine other European countries took steps to stem the flow of refugees from Greece toward Germany and other prosperous countries, the spasm of violence on Greece’s northern border brought to life the perils of the European Union’s inability so far to settle on a common policy to address the migration crisis.
War in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and repression and economic hardship across the Middle East and Africa continue to compel large numbers of people to strike out for Europe. Germany continues to signal that it will accept legitimate refugees, especially from Syria. As the weather grows warmer and the sea crossing from Turkey to Greece safer, the number of people arriving is expected to spike, putting a huge strain on Greece, which in effect is becoming a giant holding center for migrants who cannot go forward because of the new border restrictions, but will not or cannot go back. (Read more from “Violence Erupts in Greece as Migrants Try to Cross Into Macedonia” HERE)
Violence at Greece Border as Refugee Crisis Deepens
By Josh Lowe. Refugees and migrants rioted at the Macedonian border on Monday, the latest flashpoint in Greece’s spiraling refugee crisis.
Nearly 8,000 refugees are stranded at a camp with the capacity to hold 2,000 people, near the Greek town of Idomeni, Al Jazeera reported. New restrictions at the Greece-Macedonia border, including the refusal of passage to the Afghan refugees and migrants who make up one third of arrivals, have led to a buildup of people at the frontier . . .
During the rioting, a razor-wire barrier was torn and a group of men attacked a gate with a homemade battering ram.
The disturbance came as German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged other states to show more solidarity with Greece. Speaking to a talk show on national TV, she criticized recent moves by Austria to increase checks at its borders. (Read more from “Violence at Greece Border as Refugee Crisis Deepens” HERE)