makedonija, granica, ograda.jpg
Photograph: EPA/NAKE BATEV

The Macedonian army began erecting a metal fence on Saturday on the country's southern border with Greece at the point where migrants cross en route to western Europe, Reuters said, adding that the government said it had no plans to seal off access to refugees fleeing war and heading to western Europe.

Soldiers began driving long metal poles into the ground and rolling out wire, building a barrier similar to that erected by Hungary on its southern border with Serbia and Croatia to keep out the wave of migrants.

Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis are flowing largely unimpeded across the Balkans having landed by boat and dinghy in Greece from Turkey. But all other nationalities are being turned back, leading to a buildup at the Macedonian-Greek border and days of protests by Iranians, Pakistanis, Moroccans and others.

Two days ago, protesters tried to storm police lines, breaking through a flimsy barrier into Macedonia.

A government spokesman said the aim of the new fence was "to direct the inflow of people towards the controlled points for their registration and humane treatment."

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