A man tried to set himself on fire during a protest rally on the Greece-Macedonia border on Tuesday 22 March, where thousands are trapped after the border crossing closed to migrants. Witnesses identified the man as Emmad, from Raqqa, Syria. Protesters rushed towards the man as he lit himself on fire and threw blankets on him to extinguish the flames. He was then carried away to an awaiting ambulance.
Tensions are on the rise at the border camp after an EU-Turkey deal failed to deliver what most of the trapped migrants were hoping for, the opening of the borders towards the rest of Europe – also known as the Balkan migration route. Almost 300 migrants joined the protest at the border, the third in last 24 hours, including women and children, chanting "Open the border." On 21 March, Greek Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas said that the border camp will be evacuated by April at the latest.
More than 12,000 migrants are sleeping in tents in unsanitary conditions at the border, where there is a shortage of food and water, and illnesses are on the rise. They refuse to leave, hoping that if they stay near the border a way will be found for them to continue their journey. More than 52,000 men, women and children are currently stranded in Greece and despite a deal with Turkey coming into effect on 20 March to stem the flow, boatloads are still arriving.