Migrants protest at Greek border one day after police fired tear gas

Around 100 migrants gathered to protest the closure of the passage from Greece to Macedonia on Tuesday, one day after Macedonian police fired tear gas at people storming a fence along the border.

The group of mostly young men chanted "open the border," while trying to get more migrants to join in the rally.

State-run broadcaster ERT reported that further disturbances have yet to meet the scale of Monday's riots - when demonstrators tried to destroy barricades and police deployed tear gas.

Migration restrictions along the so-called Balkan route, the main path for migrants from Greece to other EU countries, have left thousands stranded at the border between Greece and neighbouring Macedonia.

At the Greek village of Idomeni, where Monday's riots occurred, about 8,000 refugees have already accumulated and Greek military forces are rushing to build seven new camps with a maximum capacity of 20,000 people.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in an interview Tuesday morning with Greek TV station Star that he won't agree to any migration policy with the EU - including an agreement at the EU-Turkey summit on March 7 in Brussels - unless it calls for an even distribution of refugees across all member states.

If border restrictions to the north remain and the inflow does not abate, then the number of migrants stranded in Greece may grow to 70,000 by the end of March, the Greek minister in charge of migration, Ioannis Mouzalas, said over the weekend.

In Geneva, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) warned that Greece and countries along the Balkan migration route were headed for "disaster" unless they return to a common approach of solidarity and shared responsibility.

Indirectly criticizing the border restrictions of Austria and several Western Balkan countries, UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said that "Europe is on the cusp of a largely self-induced humanitarian crisis" as thousands of refugees are stranded at the Greek-Macedonian border.

EU President Donald Tusk was set to start a tour of the Western Balkan in Austria and Slovenia on Tuesday, with the aim of getting countries along the main migration route to back a common EU refugee policy.

Last update: Tue, 01/03/2016 - 14:27
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