After Clashes With Migrants Along Border, Macedonia Begins Letting Some Refugees In

Aug 21, 2015

Macedonia's forces are reportedly allowing some migrants gathered just outside the southern border with Greece to enter the country, a day after the tiny Balkan nation declared a state of emergency in an effort to keep them out.

Macedonian police clashed Friday with the migrants and fired stun grenades and tear gas as the crowd, which included men, women and children, attempted to push past the police line and enter the country.

The Associated Press reports some 3,000 migrants made multiple attempts to get charge guards. Some threw stones.

"Hours after Friday's clashes, however, Macedonian police started letting small groups of families with children cross by walking along railway tracks to a station in the Macedonian town of Gevgelija, where most take trains to the border with Serbia."

As the Two-Way reported Thursday, the migrants were stranded in an open field near the Greek border after Macedonian police in riot gear and backed by armored vehicles rebuffed their attempts to enter the country.

Reporter Teri Schultz tells NPR's Newscast unit:

"The government of Macedonia says it can't cope with some 2,000 migrants that have been streaming across its border with Greece every day trying to reach wealthier European Union countries. But the U.N. says Macedonia must not stop people from seeking protection and that the EU should not leave the small Balkan state alone to deal with the influx."

In recent months, Macedonia has tried to control the recent influx of migrants — many of them fleeing violence in Syria and Afghanistan. The BBC reports as many as 44,000 refugees have crossed into the country in the past two months en route to wealthier nations within the European Union.

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