Hundreds still arrived at the camp today while only a trickle was
allowed to pass. As it is so unclear when and for how many people the border will open for, the space in front of the door to Macedonia is crammed with people camping in front of the passage. The randomness forces them into a position where they must remain alert at all times and close to the border, as they maintain a hope to pass. Given the lack of basic supplies in the camp, people
have started to organise their own supplies and make their own distribution structures.
The transit process is becoming more and more chaotic, as Macedonia is further tightening the requirements to pass. Many people were rejected by Macedonian police because of their Greek registration paper showing the 1st of January as their date of birth. Those who are rejected have to return to Idomeni to receive a new paper stating a new date of birth. According to Newsthatmoves, these measures even extend now to those having overstayed their authorised month in Greece, who are being denied entry as well. But it remains to be confirmed how this measure is implemented.
Activists have reported mass rejections at the Serbian border leading to a new bottleneck situation at the camp in Tabanovce with more than 1000 stuck people there. The reasons for those rejections are unknown so far.
The German newspaper FAZ reports that apparently nine Syrian refugees have been shot at the Turkish-Syrian border. This shows once more the deadly price for the European Union’s collaboration with Turkey that can be expected.
All these measures and news once more show that Europe’s answer to the ongoing migrations movement(s) is nothing but sheer violence. The camp in Idomeni is a structural symbol of this.
On the 18th of November 2015, Slovenia closed its borders for refugees who are not from Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq. Just a little later, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia also adopted this practice of segregation. There is little doubt about that this policy was pushed by the European Union as a starting point for slowing down or even stopping the flow over the Balkan route. Thousands of refugees were stuck in Eidomeni, Greece, and started to protest. The Moving Europe Bus was on the spot and reported live from the 22nd of November to the 11th of December 2015 – when the camp had been evicted. On the 5th of February 2016, we decided to restart our live-ticker as the new year has already seen several attempts from the European Union to slow down the migration movement towards Europe. Macedonia seems to become a key player in this strategy. For several weeks the Macedonian border authorities have slowed down the transit process. The predictable effect of this, given the high arrival numbers to the Greek islands, is that thousands are becoming stuck in Greece. On the 3th of February the Macedonian government announced its plans to strengthen border controls which will further reduce the speed of the transit process. In the meantime, the Greek authorities have established a new buffer zone near to Eidomeni. Since the camp at the border has already become highly overcrowded, there are fears that the violent scenes of last December in Eidomeni will be repeated. Therefore the authorities have decided that people should be kept at bay, at a gas station on the highway that is 20 km far away from the border (at Polykastro). For weeks migrants have had to stay there for hours under miserable conditions. Since the end of January the situation at the Greek border zone has escalated once more. There is only a trickle of people being let through to Macedonia and now people at the gas station have to wait for days before their buses finally leave towards the border. On the 3rd of February 2016 thousands of them decided not to wait any longer at the petrol station and started to walk towards the Macedonian border (#marchofhope 2). Further protests and tensions are to be expected. The Moving Europe Bus is on the spot since the 2nd of February and reports live from Polykastro and Eidomeni.