Rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear-gas cannisters were fired upon desperate refugees – men, women, children, babies – by FYROM riot police on Sunday. At the time the refugees were on Greek territory. In attacking the refugees in this way, this was a violation of Greek sovereignty. There were many casualties. MSF reported they treated over 300 people for injuries, with more than 30 sustaining open wounds caused by rubber bullets. The onslaught took place over 5 hours. In the aftermath the Greek Government issued two demarches – formal diplomatic protests – to FYROM via its embassy. A diplomatic incident, yes; but hopefully this stupid action by FYROM will not be repeated. The refugees need relocating across Europe with no further delay.
According to one report two young patients said they were taken into Macedonian territory along with 10 other people and beaten for an hour by police.
Let us not forget all countries under terms of the Geneva Convention are obliged to provide a duty of care to refugees. This was brutally breached by FYROM.
— Marianna Karakoulaki (@Faloulah) April 11, 2016
Here are further details of the demarches.
The UNHCR also issued a statement condemning FYROM’s action.
MSF issued the following statement:
“Today, frustration and a growing feeling of anger are spread among the refugees who have been stranded in Idomeni for over one month. What we see is the inevitable result of thousands being trapped in Greece, a country unable to respond to the humanitarian and protection needs of those in search of safety in Europe,” stated Jose Hulsenbek, MSF’s Head of Mission in Greece. “What people need is to be treated with dignity, not violence or unpredictable border closures and more uncertainty. This absurd humanitarian crisis created by European states’ policies is becoming more unbearable by the day.”