• publish: 23 August 2015
  • time: 5:16 pm
  • category: International
  • No: 804

Migrants overwhelm security forces at Macedonian border

Hundreds of migrants have crossed unhindered from Greece into Macedonia after overwhelmed security forces appeared to abandon a bid to stem their flow through the Balkans to Western Europe following days of chaos and confrontation.

Riot police remained, but did little to slow the passage of a steady flow of migrants on Sunday, many of them refugees from the Syrian war and other conflicts in the Middle East.

Macedonia declared a state of emergency on Thursday and sealed its southern frontier to migrants arriving at a rate of 2,000 a day en route to Serbia then Hungary and the EU’s borderless Schengen zone.

This led to desperate scenes at the border, as adults and children slept under open skies with little access to food or water.

Saying they would ration access, riot police used teargas and stun grenades to drive back crowds, but they were overwhelmed on Saturday by several thousand people who tore through police lines or ran through nearby fields.

The state eventually laid on extra trains, and buses arrived from across the country to take the migrants swiftly north to Serbia on the next step of their journey.

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