Refugees tear-gassed at Macedonia-Greece border
Dozens of people were injured when Macedonian police fired tear gas on a group of refugees as they tried to break through a fence on the Greece-Macedonia border, the medical charity Doctors without Borders (MSF) said.
“Dozens of people were hurt, mainly suffering respiratory problems, and three had to be taken to hospital,” MSF official, Achileas Tzemos, told the AFP news agency of the incident near the Idomeni crossing yesterday.
A Macedonian police source said three officers were also injured by stones thrown by the protesting refugees.
Clashes continued into the afternoon, and the wind brought tear gas fumes into a nearby makeshift camp on the Greek side of the border holding over 11,000 stranded refugees.
Many people, including small children, who were not involved in the clashes, were suffering from respiratory problems. Volunteer doctors were treating several dozen refugees with respiratory problems, slight injuries from the plastic bullets and facial injuries from close quarter clashes when the fence was temporarily breached.
Greece said yesterday that the use of force against refugees was “dangerous and deplorable”. “The indiscriminate use of chemicals, rubber bullets and stun grenades against vulnerable populations, and particularly without reasons for such force, is a dangerous and deplorable act,” said George Kyritsis, a spokesman for migration coordinators in the Greek government.
The clashes began soon after some 500 refugees gathered close to the fence.
Activists had distributed fliers, in Arabic, calling for the refugees to gather at the fence yesterday morning. A delegation of five refugees asked Macedonian police whether the border was about to open.
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