On February 23, the Macedonian government tightened its immigration restrictions on those entering the country from Greece by reclassifying those coming from Afghanistan as economic migrants rather than refugees, effectively banning them from applying for asylum within Macedonia. The move came after a similar decision by the Serbian government, and the immediate result was thousands of Afghans left stranded on the Greek side of the border with nowhere to go. This further congested the flow of refugees from other countries trying to cross from Greece.
Frustration erupted in a full-scale riot in the Greek border town of Idomeni on Friday, when Macedonia temporarily closed the border to all. Crowds of hopeful passers ran to the border and proceeded to push down a razor-wire fence on the Macedonian side, resulting in the use of violence and tear gas by Macedonian authorities. The Greek minister for migration, Ioannis Mouzalas, stated that the estimated number of people trapped in Greece "will be between 50,000 and 70,000" before the end of this month.Read More