Migrants: serious bottlenecks on Greece’s northern border

Thousands stranded northbound at border

Trains suspended due to taxi protest

FYROM authorities allow some migrants through

The news

An estimated 9000 migrants are stranded on the border between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

Tempers are fraying over the slow passage of traffic over the border.

Dozens of buses packed with migrants have spent several days parked at petrol stations on the main highway running north from Greece.

4 day ferry strikes in #Greece and taxi strike in #Macedonia led 2 this migrant build up at gas station b4 border pic.twitter.com/w0aTwELn67— gultuysuz (@gultuysuz) February 2, 2016

Some have set out on foot for the border, where makeshift camps are at full capacity on either side.

The macedonian side

People are again on the move, after Macedonia’s taxi drivers ended their five-day strike at border with Greece pic.twitter.com/MyLTjdFMCN— Fisnik Abrashi (@fabrashiap) February 4, 2016

Macedonia restores rail traffic for #refugees stranded at border during taxi strike https://t.co/YhJTXZrfK3— Refugee Aid Serbia (@RefAidSerbia) February 3, 2016

The macedonian authorities opened the border with Greece in the early hours of Thursday morning.

However, they are only letting small groups of migrants cross.

A #refugee #wheelchair user boards a train for #Serbia at the transit camp near #Gevgelija (#Macedonia). [Photo: AP] pic.twitter.com/pxyijJIPpn— Andrea Pregel (@A_Pregel) February 2, 2016

Rail transport from the macedonian border with Greece into the country is slowly resuming, as officials try to alleviate the growing backlog caused by protests on both sides of the border.

Chaos brewing at #Greece-#Macedonia border as frustrated refugees walk down highway https://t.co/otpcskzFLn #Idomeni https://t.co/68SyMvwCm7— Dan McLaughlin (@DanMcL99) February 2, 2016

Taxi protest

Trains have been halted for several days due to a protest by macedonian taxi drivers.

They are angry that police have been directing migrants to trains and buses for the journey north to Serbia and on to western Europe.

According to refugee taxi drivers ask 800 euros to bring them back to Athens. #Idomeni— Marcel van der Steen (@marcelvdsteen) November 21, 2015

It is not clear if or how the taxi dispute has been resolved.

However, a train left the border town of Gevgelija on Thursday morning.

The Greek side

Traffic has also been disrupted on the Greek side by farmers protesting over a planned pension reform to satisfy international creditors.

Migrants in numbers

Waiting for her mom outside MSF blanket distribution tent- winter nights at the petrol station near #Idomeni pic.twitter.com/WOACJug8e2— MSF International (@MSF) February 3, 2016

#UNICEF #ChildFriendlySpace in #Gevgelija Kids playing outdoors in the lovely sunshine. Waiting for the train… pic.twitter.com/PjmGf0Mbi5— Jesper Frovin Jensen (@frovin) January 30, 2016

60% – how many of the migrants are women and children (more)

62,000 – migrant arrivals in Greece in January (more)

91,671 – migrant arrivals in Germany in January

(more)

What they are saying

“We do not have more money to spend to get food also, we have a lot of problems. I want to go!” – Sabor from Afghanistan.

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