Macedonia: 300 injured as police fire on refugees

11th Apr 2016
Macedonia: 300 injured as police fire on refugees

By Vasiliki Mitsiniotou

 

ATHENS, Greece, (AA)  Around 300 people were injured Sunday when Macedonian police used tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades on refugees as they tried to break through the border fence with Greece, local media reported.

The violence was condemned by the Greek Refugee Coordination Crisis Management Body.

“The use of tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades from FYROM [Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia] forces against vulnerable populations, and even without force majeure, is a dangerous and reprehensible practice,” spokesman Giorgos Kyritsis said in a statement to ANA-MPA.

“We urge the FYROM authorities to understand the potential risks from the use of violence against refugees and migrants.”

The Greek Foreign Ministry said it had protested to Macedonia. The Greek ambassador to Skopje, Theoharis Lalakos, called on the Macedonian authorities “to rise to the occasion and exhibit the proper responsibility, self-restraint and seriousness”.

The violence began after a group of five refugees approached the frontier to speak to Macedonian police.

Around 500 people later gathered outside the refugee camp at Idomeni and approached the border, which is protected by a fence and barbed wire.

A spokesman for Doctors without Borders told ANA-MPA that 200 people were treated for breathing problems, 34 for open wounds and 30 for injuries caused by rubber bullets. The group said seven people were hospitalized.

More than 11,000 refugees are at Idomeni, hoping to make their way to northern Europe despite the closed border.

 

[Photo: Refugees wait to cross border with Macedonia in Greece town of Gevgelija. Photographer: Ilin Nikolovski/AA]

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