Refugee bottleneck on Greek border as Macedonia taxis strike

Angry at being cut out of the lucrative business of transporting refugees northwards through Macedonia to the Serbian border, local taxi drivers have staged days of protests that have largely blocked the Greek border

Refugee bottleneck on Greek border as Macedonia taxis strike

World Bulletin / News Desk

A bottleneck of around 7,000 refugees built up along Greece's border with Macedonia on Wednesday after a protest by Macedonian taxi drivers hampered their crossing, local police said. 

Angry at being cut out of the lucrative business of transporting refugees northwards through Macedonia to the Serbian border, local taxi drivers have staged days of protests that have largely blocked the Greek border and halted the flow of trains northwards.

Most refugees are transported northwards from the Greek-Macedonia border by train or bus, with the taxis demanding to be allowed a share of the business. 

But a compromise was reached on Wednesday, with refugees crossing the frontier and least one train departing northwards, police said.

"The border is open. (Passage) might be a bit slow due to the big number of refugees that are waiting to be registered but it's open," a senior Macedonian police source said.

Police on the Greek side had earlier said that a camp at Idomeni near the border had exceeded capacity by far, with thousands waiting on buses nearby. But the border temporarily reopened on Tuesday night, allowing some 2,000 people to cross, police said.

In January, almost 62,200 refugees and refugees entered Europe through Greece, most of them from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, the International Organization for Migration said. Close to a third of them were unaccompanied minors.

Children now make up over a third of the refugees making the perilous sea crossing from Turkey to Greece, the UN said Tuesday, as two more babies drowned off Europe's shores.

The EU has urged Greece to check the flow of asylum seekers to its shores, including better registration and security checks, or risk having border controls imposed with other members of the passport-free Schengen zone. 

Source: Agence France-Presse

Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Şubat 2016, 15:52
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