Conflict has erupted once again on the Greece-Macedonia border, as migrants fought police and then each other, with Kurds pitched against Arabs.
Exploding gas canisters rocked the camp at the village of Idomeni, and migrant protestors dragged a train wagon down the tracks, ramming it into police positions.
Greece’s left-led government has said some volunteers and charity workers at the Idomeni camp are behind recent riots involving hundreds of migrants and refugees trying to force their way into Macedonia.
Faced with the chaos and violence, one Macedonian policeman stared down a group of masked migrants through fence, telling them: “This is my country. I am ready to die for my country”.
— Björn Kietzmann (@bjokie) April 11, 2016
Tensions have been rising on the border in recent days–which was closed at the beginning of the year–ever since rumors began circulating that it was about to reopen in the coming days.
Two days ago, migrants staged a massive attack on the Macedonian border fence. Police responded to the cries of “Allahu Akhbar” with tear gas and stun grenades.
Thousands of anonymous leaflets written in Arabic had been circulated at the 11,000 person migrant camp, calling on the inhabitants to rise up together.
“Today we either break the border fence or die”, the literature read.
Greek police today temporarily detained 17 people, mostly foreign nationals, during a crackdown on volunteers suspected of “spreading malicious rumors” in the Idomeni camp.
According to AP, Police have now announced that 16 of the detainees were subsequently released without charge, while a German man found carrying a knife was charged with possessing a weapon.
The detainees were identified as German, Austrian, Swedish and Portuguese nationals, as well as two Greeks, a Palestinian resident in Greece and a Syrian.