March 13, 2016
Hundreds of refugees have staged a protest on Greece’s border with Macedonia, demanding the opening of the border.
Stranded for days, refugee men, women and children in hundreds braved the rain in the Greek village of Idomeni, near the Greece-Macedonia border on Sunday, calling for the border to be opened.
The refugee protesters, wearing rain coats and carrying umbrellas, chanted “Merkel” as they waved their fists in the air, pinning their hopes on the German chancellor to persuade the other states along the ‘Balkan corridor’ to reopen their border gates.
Since the Balkan border blockade, some 12,000 people have put up makeshift tents at Idomeni and are living in miserable conditions waiting to cross.
Europe is facing its biggest refugee crisis since World War Two. Hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing conflict-ridden zones in Africa and the Middle East have trekked across the Balkans route from Greece to northern Europe.
European Union (EU) member states along the route, however, have been tightening their borders, making the already perilous journey across the sea and land in rain, snow and cold more difficult for the refugees.
The EU has also offered Turkey billions of dollars to stem the flow of refugees arriving on the continent.
Some 1,255,600 refugees reached Europe in 2015, according to a recent report by Eurostat, statistical office of the EU.
Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis topped the Eurostat’s list of refugees.
Many blame the Western countries’ intervention in conflicts in the Middle East as the main reason behind the refugees’ decision to leave their home countries.