Desperate Migrants Protest at Closed Greece-Macedonia Border

The Macedonian Parliament voted to extend the state of emergency enforced in the areas on the southern and northern borders until December 31, 2016 as a result of the migrant crisis.

Speaking in Parliament, Defense Minister Zoran Jolevski said the motion on amending the decision approving an extension of the state of emergency came as a result of the growing number of migrants entering and passing through Macedonia, The Independent reports.

The objective is to secure continuity of the execution of tasks by the army and security forces of the Interior Ministry in an attempt to guard and protect the state border.

Meanwhile, thousands of migrants have been left stranded on the Greek side of the Macedonian border, prompting fresh protests today. The closure of the border, combined with the Turkey deal that shut off the southern routes, have filled the migrants with more desperate moods than ever.

Greece’s government is appealing to volunteers and aid groups working with desperate refugees on the border to make sure the migrants don’t get misinformation like reports that led hundreds to leave a refugee camp on a failed, hours-long trek to try to enter Macedonia.

Migration affairs spokesman Giorgos Kyritsis said the government was trying to communicate directly with refugees in the Idomeni camp on Greece’s northern border and was sending in a team of interpreters, The Guardian writes.

The move comes after refugees said activists in Idomeni had been urging people to march on the Macedonian border this weekend, saying it would be reopened.

Greece is to use loudspeakers at a migrants’ camp on the Macedonian border to dispel “irresponsible rumours” that the crossing is about to reopen. Dozens of other migrants were travelling back to the Idomeni border through the fields. Authorities sent 20 buses to transport 1,000 people to refugee camps set up in northern Greece.

The Greek government hopes the Idomeni camp will be evacuated by the end of April and that migrants will move to “transit centers” set up throughout Greece.

More than 50,000 migrants are stranded in Greece after other European countries sealed off the Balkan route. Many are Syrians fleeing war. More than 11,000 of them are currently camped around Idomeni.

The Balkan route leads from Greece – the landing point for hundreds of thousands of people coming from Turkey – to northern Europe, where many have relatives or seek a better future.

The influx has eased since an agreement between the European Union and Turkey came into effect on March 20 for returning any migrants who reach Greece.