Over 10,000 refugees rush to Greek border camps

Thousands of refugees rush to Greek border camps after rumours spred that borders will open

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Refugees stand behind the fence at the Macedonian-Greek border near Gevgelija on March 27, 2016

Updated May 12, 2016

Over 10,000 hopeful refugees in Greece rushed to border makeshift camps after rumours reached that the border with Macedonia will open.

The commotion reportedly appeared to be triggered by a rumour that journalists and Red Cross officials would help refugees force their way across the fence into Macedonia.

"They told us the Red Cross and 500 journalists from all over the world will be with us," said a young Syrian refugee, but did not specify the source, while another refugee said that her sister who is living in Germany alerted her after seeing a claim on the internet.

"People have been here for a long time. I think it's very dangerous to cross, especially for the children but what should we do?" 24-year old refugee Qasim Mosawy said.

Greek authorities tried to evacuate refugees who couldn’t continue their journey to wealthier European countries after Balkan states shut their borders, while officials at the Idomeni border tried to calm the crowd as they said the crossing would remain closed. 

A deal aiming to stop refugee flow to European countries was brokered by the European Union and Turkey in March.

A refugee carrying his child, stands in front of ant-riot police during a protest of migrants at the Greek-Macedonian border, near the Greek village of Idomeni on March 27, 2016

Under the agreement pact, the refugees that arrived to Greece after March 20 will be deported to Turkey, unless their asylum application is succeeded.

The deal also outlined that a limited number of, around 72,000 out of 3 million, Syrian refugees will be allowed in Turkey, while visa-liberalisation process for Turkish citizens to Europe will be accelerated and refugee aid will be doubled to 6.8 billion euros. The deal could be abandoned if the numbers exceed the number specified in the deal.

TRT World correspondent, Maria Kadkelidou, reporting from Greece said that the number of people exhausted from long waits went back to other hosting facilities with busses, which Greek authorities provided, but many still remains stranded on the border.

Around 400 hundred refugees began protesting the border closures with slogans and banners written “No violence, we just want to cross.”

One of the refugees waiting in the border said that “Freedom of movement is everybody’s right.”

Kadkelidou stated the European Union’s agreement with Turkey will only apply to the refugees that arrived after March 20, the date when the deal went into effect. Yet, she said many of those stranded in the border town of Idomeni had arrived before March 20.

The country has seen a significant reduction in arrivals after the deal went into effect, dropping the number of arrivals to the Greek islands to less than 200.

Author: Bilge N. Kotan

TRTWorld and agencies