Migrants protest in northern Greece seeking to cross border

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-05 02:40:17|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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ATHENS, April 4 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of migrants and refugees protested in northern Greece on Thursday, demanding the reopening of the border crossing into Northern Macedonia to enable them to continue their journey to central Europe, the Greek national news agency AMNA reported.

More than 500 people gathered outside the refugee reception facility of Diavata community, about 7 km from the center of Thessaloniki, a Greek port city, and at least 40 of them have set up tents and camped.

It has not been clarified from which other facilities the protesters came from, but among them were families with children.

Some men briefly clashed with police forces. No injuries have been reported.

According to local media reports, more migrants were planning to join the protest in the coming hours and march together towards the border crossing of Idomeni, 60 km northwest.

In recent days, rumors have been circulating on social media among migrants and refugees who live in Greece that if they move en masse to Idomeni, the borders will reopen, ANT1 television channel reported.

Tens of thousands of refugees and migrants had flocked to a makeshift camp set up next to the border crossing at the peak of the crisis in 2015-2016 and lived there for months in difficult conditions, demanding to cross into Northern Macedonia and continue the trip to other countries.

Idomeni's crossing was sealed along many other border crossings along the Balkan route to central Europe in the winter of 2016. The makeshift camp was evacuated in May 2016 and people were relocated to other facilities.

More than one million people had landed on Greek islands and continued their journey to Europe until the closure of borders three years ago.

Despite the impressive drop in numbers of new arrivals to Greece after the spring of 2016, dozens of people keep risking their lives on a daily basis to reach Greece from Turkey, hoping for a better future in Europe away from war-stricken zones and extreme poverty.

Almost 70,000 migrants and refugees have been stranded in Greece since the closure of borders in 2016, according to the Hellenic Ministry of Migration Policy.