Macedonian police fired tear gas on 29 February to disperse hundreds of migrants and refugees who were desperate to cross the border from Greece, bringing down a gate as frustrations boiled over at restrictions imposed on people moving through the Balkans.
Macedonian police fired several rounds of tear gas into crowds on a railway line where migrants had sat refusing to move, demanding to cross into the country. The crossing was next to Idomeni camp, the main transit point for refugees travelling towards west Europe. Close to 10,000 people were stranded in a small transit camp designed to hold 2,500.
Struggling with limited resources to house migrants itself, Macedonia had briefly closed its border last week, only to re-open it but with much stricter controls. The country is now allowing only a few hundred people to pass through over each weekend – not enough to alleviate the constant influx of new arrivals as thousands of migrants come to the Greek mainland by ferries and head north.
More than one million refugees and migrants have passed through the camp in the previous 12 months, travelling from Turkey to Germany and other western European countries, where they hope to secure asylum.