Migrants face rain, police aggression at Greek-Macedonian border

Macedonian police use batons against migrants gathered at the border with Greece.

NEAR IDOMENI, GREEK-MACEDONIAN BORDER (SEPTEMBER 10, 2015) (REUTERS) – Hundreds of migrants at the Greek-Macedonian border on Thursday (September 10) faced wet weather and police aggression as they waited in a muddy no-man’s land to cross the border into Macedonia.

Many had spent the previous night sleeping outdoors under the chilling rain in makeshift camps near the border.

On arrival at the border control point, they were greeted by Macedonian riot police, some of whom used their batons against the migrants as they waited to cross.

Some 23,000 people are expected to arrive at the Macedonian border in the next two to three days, according to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR..

Greece is ferrying thousands of migrants from its islands to the mainland on a daily basis, and a bottleneck is forming at the border with Macedonia. The Macedonian government has organised trains twice a day to the north of the country, where migrants cross into Serbia on their way to European Union member Hungary. Authorities have also provided additional buses to take people north.

For most migrants, the ultimate goal is Germany, where they hope they will be able to apply for asylum.

border against migrants -foreign minister

Macedonia was considering building a Hungarian-style border fence to stem the rising influx from the south, Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki was quoted as saying on Thursday. In an interview with Hungarian business weekly Figyelo, he said Macedonia will probably also need “some kind of a physical defence” though this would not be a long-term solution

At least 850,000 people are expected to cross the Mediterranean seeking refuge in Europe this year and next, the U.N. said on Tuesday (September 8), giving estimates that already look conservative. UNHCR has called for more cohesive asylum policies to deal with the growing numbers.