Macedonian army starts building border fence to control migrant flow

Macedonian army starts building border fence to control migrant flow

Police in Macedonia fired tear gas and stun grenades at desperate migrants stranded for days at the Greek border and who are demanding passage to western Europe, as soldiers began erecting a metal fence to keep them out.

Macedonia, along with other Balkan countries on the migrant route, began turning away “economic migrants” nearly two weeks ago. Human rights groups have criticized the decision, under which only Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans are allowed through.

The new restrictions triggered days of protests from Iranians, Pakistanis, Moroccans and others, stranded in squalid tent camps on the border. Some Iranians have sewn their lips shut. One man on Saturday threw himself on railway lines before the police, screaming and flailing. …

Earlier on Saturday, Macedonian soldiers began driving metal poles around 3 meters high into the cold, muddy ground, building a barrier similar to that erected by Hungary on its southern border.

European Union member Hungary in September and October sealed its southern border to migrants, calling them a threat to the security, prosperity and “Christian values” of Europe.

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