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5000 Migrants Turned Away As Macedonia No Longer Recognises Afghans As ‘Refugees’

Five thousand migrants have been turned away at the Greek-Macedonian border as Macedonian authorities only let Syrians and Iraqis with valid travel documents enter their country.

The Greek government is totally alone, left to process over 5000 migrants whose numbers increase daily, who have come into the country without papers or with incorrect ones, as their neighbours to the north refuse to process any migrant without an Iraqi or Syrian passport. According to Reuters, Greek police started removing migrants from the Greek-Macedonian border on Tuesday after additional passage restrictions imposed by Macedonian authorities left hundreds stranded while more were ferried from islands to Greece’s main Piraeus port.

Macedonia recently completely closed their border to Greece in order to stop migrants transiting through to Germany or Sweden. Macedonia has now given permission for those with proper paperwork from recognised countries at war to have only a few days to transit through the small nation on their way to their destination. This marks a difference to previous policy as Afghans are no longer considered refugees by the Macedonian government and are deported into Greece after around two days.

A Greek aid worker told local television, “only 200 people have been allowed to go over since this morning” to Macedonia which until Friday when the border was closed would average at least 2000 or more people daily.

Migrants at the border are frustrated they are not allowed to enter and as N-TV reporter Dirk Emmerich has reported on Twitter they have attempted to besiege the border fences only to be repelled by Macedonian police and border security guards. Subsequent tweets also show turned away Afghans arrested immediately after they attempt to negotiate themselves under and around the barbed wire border fence.

Northern Greece is not alone with ever increasing numbers of migrants who cannot go anywhere. The port of Pireaus is now the temporary home of thousands of stranded migrants as local police are keeping them there to relieve as much pressure from the border as possible so that the large crowds don’t grow so large as to be uncontrollable by border guards.

Many trapped in the port try to tell authorities that they have paid for bus tickets and train transport to the border and wish to go on their way. Over 4000 migrants in the city are wanting to continue their journey toward Germany.  “We have paid and aren’t allowed to leave,” an Iraqi man told a Greek radio news station. Migrants asked if they could simply go to a camp near the city but it unclear whether any camps exist in the area or if they have the capacity to handle the thousands in the city.

Overnight, Greek police and empty buses entered the area. In one area seen from the Macedonian side of the border, about 600 people had been surrounded by Greek police, the witness said.

There were an estimated 1,200 people at Idomeni, in their vast majority Afghans or individuals without proper travel documents. A crush developed there on Monday after Macedonian authorities demanded additional travel documentation, including passports, for people crossing into their territory.

The Greek-Balkan migrant route was the most travelled and the most popular way for migrants to reach western Europe last year but starting with Hungary each European country has closed its borders to the waves of migrants fearing that migrants may stay there or that police and the army would not have the man power to control the situation if it should escalate.

These closed border policies have mitigated the flow of migrants to central Europe but as Breitbart London has reported more and more migrants are attempting to cross the Hungarian border.

According to the United Nations 33,767 migrants have poured into Greece in the first 20 days of February and 94,269 have illegally crossed the Turkish-Greek border since the start of the year.

Reuters contributed to this report

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