Scores of migrants broke through a barbed-wire security fence on the Greece-Macedonia border Monday, as tensions over new restrictions along the key land route into Europe boiled over in violent scenes.
And more than 2,400 kilometers (1,500 miles) away in Calais, in northwest France, clashes erupted as authorities moved to dismantle structures at the “Jungle,” an infamous migrant camp marked for partial demolition.
Crowds at a border camp near the Greek village of Idomeni on the Macedonian border, a main transit point for refugees traveling to western Europe, used a large pole to ram through the border gate, while authorities deployed tear gas and rubber bullets in an attempt to keep the chanting crowd at bay.
TV footage showed the migrants running across the border as the gate was forced open.
Dejana Nedeljkovic, chief public relations adviser at the Macedonian Interior Ministry, told CNN that there was an incident at the border where thousands of refugees had tried to enter Macedonia by force and had been stopped. The border had subsequently been closed again.
Antonis Rigas, a field coordinator for Doctors Without Borders in Idomeni, said 23 people suffered light injuries as a result of the clashes, including 10 children. Fifteen suffered from respiratory issues from the tear gas, seven cut themselves on the barbed wire and one person was grazed by a rubber bullet.
He said there was a sense of desperation building at Idomeni as the migrant flow across the border had been reduced, then stopped completely since Sunday evening. More than 7,000 refugees were at the camp in Idomeni, a facility that only has room for 3,000.
Dangerous backlog in Greece
The flashpoint comes just days after a meeting in Vienna last week at which ministers from countries along the main Balkan migration through Europe — Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia — agreed to tighten border controls to slow arrivals to a trickle.
Read more: CNN
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