The border is closed. People remain in Idomeni. They refuse to leave, they refuse to take the border closure for granted. Rain kept on falling all morning. The situation keeps on deteriorating. The distribution of non-food items is not working. People remain in semi-flooded, muddy Idomeni in their soaked clothes. Locals are bringing clothes and food, small stalls have keep popping up in the vicinity of the camp. The ADM kitchen keeps on cooking 7000 meals a day. They enable the survival of people who have to endure the situation in the camp in Idomeni. “The border has to open again. They cannot leave us here like this. Maybe on the next meeting on the 17th”, one refugee stated.

Meanwhile, independent volunteers reported that the situation in the military-run camp in Cherso, Northern Greece, is equally terrible. The camp is crowded, the living conditions are very bad and the tents there are flooded as well.

In the evening, a big demonstration took place in Thessaloniki with around 1500 participants. People took the street in solidarity with the refugees and against the racist European migration policies that leave people to a slow death in camps like Idomeni.

With all the media outlets only focussing on the humanitarian crisis in Idomeni, it is often forgotten that this situation is totally manufactured political one. If there would be no border, there would be no humanitarian crisis.


The weather conditions in Idomeni are terrible. Many tents are flooded or simply don’t fulfill their purpose anymore. Even so, some people organized a sit in on the train tracks today. But the pouring rain doesn’t make a protest against the closure of the corridor any easier.

The fact that the Balkan corridor is closed is slowly settling in. Many do not want to believe it. People in the camps are not informed about this by officials, and remain uncertain about what to believe and whether rumors are true or not. The people we were talking to today were angry and in disbelief that they are really stuck now. „The UNHCR are liars“ one person said to us. The relocation program is being advertised with flyers translated into arabic and people are able to register for it already. This is not the „miracle“ solution the authorities want to portray it as. Since the beginning of the relocation program, only 0.5% of the promised relocations have taken place; a joke considering the numbers of people who are in need of protectoion.

People were left in incertainty in the rain in the camp. Although the government has anounced an eviction of the camp, they have not even started yet to redirected people to more permanent shelters with slightly better conditions.




The Balkan Corridor will officially close from midnight on. Slovenia and Serbia announced that they will re-introduce the Schengen regime meaning only people with visas can enter their territory. Consequently, Macedonia will keep its border shut for good. Again, racist and inhuman decisions have been made on fancy conferences tables over the lives of thousands of refugees and migrants. With the definite closure of the corridor, Europe is destroying the hopes of thousands of people. All the amazing people we have met during the last weeks, who have shown an incredible amount of strength and resilience are now facing the walls of re-fortified Europe.

Germany’s decision to suspend family reunifications a few months ago forced so many women to take the perilous journey across the sea with their children by themselves. This decision is the second massive blow for them. Many have their husbands in central Europe who have been desperately waiting for their arrival for months. Their hopes of joining them quickly have just been shattered in the mud of Idomeni, giving way to despair and anger.


The atmosphere at the camp was electric today, as everyone seemed to be awaiting the conclusion of the EU summit in Brussels. There were many discussions about the political situation and the possible outcomes of the summit. People expressed their worries at being unable to continue their journey through the Balkan route if a total closure was to be announced. As things currently stand, there has been no concrete outcome of the meeting as the negotiations between Turkey and the EU have not come to a final agreement.

The heavy rains of this evening have degraded even further the already appalling conditions of the camp. In light of this and the lack of conclusions of the summit, only anger and revolt can be expected tomorrow from those subjected to the violent EU border regime. Some people have been stuck in Idomeni for close to three weeks now. They cannot wait much longer.

In the late afternoon, a couple hundred people occupied the train tracks again, demanding the border to open and denounce the electrocution of a boy on the train tracks of the camp. MSF further reported that a hunger strike had begun on the train tracks in protest to the 13 year old’s electrocution.

Some impressions of today:






Today, as usually is the case on Sundays, a lot of locals came by the camp to distribute donations to the people in there. With the sun shining, the atmosphere in the camp seemed calm and relaxed. But the nights are still freezing cold and hygienic conditions are deteriorating.

Meanwhile, reports and rumours of further restrictions are spreading. The Associated Press reported that Damascus and Baghdad have been declared ‘safe cities’ by Macedonian authorities. According to this information, people from these places are no longer allowed to pass into FYROM/Macedonia. If this measure were to be implemented, it will cause further thousands of people to be stranded in Greece. They will be stuck or have no choice but to turn to smugglers.

Fears are arising that the corridor will close completely after tomorrow’s EU summit in Brussels. Many await a change in the current ‘stuck’ situation – but hopes that the border will reopen again, are not running high.

Moving Europe in collaboration with the Travelling Bureau have produced a report on the brutal revenge against protesters conducted by the Macedonian border authorities. A leader of the recent refugee protests in Idomeni was brutally beaten after having crossed the border legally and was subsequently pushed back to Greece. He is still in hospital where his severe injuries are being treated. Read the full report here: http://moving-europe.org/2016/03/06/brutal-revenge-against-protesters/

We denounce these acts of profound violence and intimidation conducted by border authorities and the violence of the border regime itself.


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.


Idomeni is currently holding at least 7 times more people than its maximum capacity. The rain has made the camp muddy and people are wading between makeshift tents and overflowing bins of trash. The police is stopping taxis from driving people over the bridge from the highway all the way to the camp, forcing all people – old, injured, pregnant and with small kids – to walk another 4 kilometers over the fields, carrying their luggage. Nonetheless, people keep arriving.

The restrictions of travel have increased again: people who stayed more than 30 days in Greece are kept from passing the border. As most people have already been in Idomeni for 10 days, and the numbers passing to Gevgelija are negligible, most people will soon no longer fulfill the requirements to travel on the corridor.

Whilst the crisis in Greece is worsening by the day, the UNHCR continues to encourage the EU relocation program which today ‘triumphantly’ announced the ridiculous number of 15 people relocated from Greece to Romania. The situation is unacceptable and such meagre measures will not solve it.


The railway tracks were blocked for some hours again but in the afternoon trains could pass. Only a few people were allowed to pass today. It is estimated that there are between 11.000 and 15.000 people now in the camp. Nobody in the camp (including NGOs and Journalists) really knows and understands, who can pass at what time. We got the impression, that there is no logic behind or that this logic is changing every day.  Therefore,  it  is not surprising that various rumours are circulating in the camp about the criteria for crossing the border/when it will be possible for whom. People are more and more frustrated. After some sunny days it started to rain in the evening. Some impressions of today:

Handing out the registration papers:


About 10.000 people are still stuck in Idomeni. People are given numbers, which are written on the back of their Greek registration papers. The same number is given to about 50 people. Today, several hundreds (~ 500) with numbers around 60 and an ID proving their Syrian or Iraqi nationality were allowed to cross. We talked to one Syrian, who showed us, that he received number 265 today. Due to new arrivals in Idomeni every day, it is therefore not to be expected, that the camp will get empty in the nearer future (if there is no eviction).  Somehow it seems, that the border is only kept open for some hundred people every day to avoid a massive uprising, what somehow would be the logical consequence of total hopelessness. But seeing others who are allowed to pass, people still hope, it will be „their time“ sooner or later to pass through the gate to Macedonia. Consequently, the railway tracks are not blocked by protesters anymore, trains are passing trough the camp a few times a day. The last days the weather during daytime was quite good, but if it will start to rain and get colder again, the camp will turn into hell immediately.

Here a drone footage of the camp from today.


At the gate to Macedonia:

At the gate to Macedonia:





The military camps in Nea Cavala and Cherso have opened and are accommodating the first refugees arriving from Athens (map of camps in Northern Greece). Nonetheless, people keep coming to Idomeni. There are around 10’000 people in the camp now. After a rainy night, people where drying their clothes on their tents and on the barbed wire fences. Another protest took place. People are fed up of the situation. The border has to open! Some impressions of today:




Today in Idomeni hundreds of people tore through the razor fence which separated them from Macedonia/FYROM. They were met with teargas, heavy police and the military. An army helicopter was flown over the site.  „They do like Assad does“, a refugee commented.

We denounce this extreme violence deployed against people asking for the simple right to be able to travel on. There are 8000 people in the camp, and more arriving each day. Open the border!


This morning, another big protest took place in Idomeni. Around 400 people blocked the train tracks during the entire day, keeping cargo trains from crossing the border. The police intended to blackmail the protesters by stating that they would open the border if they left the train tracks. However, for the protesters it was clear: “They are lying to us! They say that the border will open, but nobody passed today and yesterday only 50 people passed. They are lying to us!”

The situation is getting tenser; people are questioning whether they will ever be able to pass this border. Many have figured out that the small number of people passing is a strategy of the authorities: “They only let some people pass to keep our hopes up, to keep us waiting calmly.”

There have been new camps opening in the surrounding area of Polykastro, where reportedly the few remaining people from the gas station in Polykastro have been taken.  However, it has also been reported that these camps are not really ready to accommodate the said 2000 people. Whether the authorities’ containment strategy works with this camp remains to be seen. Possibly, many will make their way to the border in the next days anyways.

Meanwhile, the camp in Idomeni is extending steadily across the surrounding fields. More people keep arriving, on foot and with taxis. All day long there has been a steady trickle of new people, packed with their heavy bags, blankets and small children in their arms. They try to find their way around the already overcrowded camp, hoping to find a tent and a spot to set it up. The number of people exceeds the camp capacity by at least a fourfold. It is only a matter of time until the daily protests become no longer appeaseable.

Some impressions of today:


At the time of writing this post, only 150 people have crossed the border from Greece into Macedonia. The camp at Idomeni is heaving with 7000 people, many of whom have been there for over a week now. Hundreds today gathered at the fence, demanding for the opening of the border. “We don’t want food” they chanted, “open the border” as the gates to Macedonia remained shut for the third day in a row.

“In Syria, we will die immediately. Here, it is just a slow death we are living. I prefer to be in Syria if this is Europe” one man who had been waiting for ten days at the border observed. Another woman pointed out, “if we do the maths, with the amount of people going through each day, I would have to wait 15 days here before even having a chance of getting through. And I don’t even have a tent”.

With new arrivals numbering in the thousands on the Greek islands every day, the various accommodation camps already full and only a tiny trickle of people being let through the northern border, the era of the so-called ‘humanitarian corridor’ seems to be coming to an end. The situation in Greece is untenable and will definitely not remain static with so many people voicing such clear demands. If the corridor does remain shut though, people will find their own way to central Europe, as they did this summer. There are already reports of large numbers gathering on Greece’s border with Albania.

At the same time today, in over a hundred cities around Europe, people showed their solidarity with those blocked and killed by borders by taking to the streets. Under the slogan “safe passage now”, thousands marched to denounce the violence of fortress Europe.



The situation in Greece is further intensifying. Today again, people started to walk from Polykastro, Diavata and even further south towards Idomeni.

This morning the last ferry arrived from Lesvos before the temporary stop of transport from the islands to Piraeus port. The Greek authorities announced that ferries will be held back on the islands and used as temporary accommodation. Apart from the over crowed camps close to the port there are also several hundred people accommodated in the ferry terminals of Piraeus. The people have been there for up to 3 days, staying on cardboard in the terminal halls.

Around 150 people started a sit-in protest at the entrance of the port, demanding on a banner „We want to go out of Greece“.

Meanwhile, the Slovenian authorities have announced to limit the daily influx of people to only 580 per day. The countries south on the Balkan corridor are expected to follow. With only 168 people passing to Macedonia/FYROM yesterday, according to the UNHCR statistics, the bottleneck in Idomeni is not expected to clear up soon.

With heavy rain this evening, the situation in the overcrowded and muddy camp in Idomeni, where many go without tents, is becoming worse. Rising tensions among the people who have been stuck in the camp now for days can be expected.


The situation in northern Greece has changed in an almost unprecedented way. According to MSF, 12 000 refugees are currently stuck in Greece. They want to travel on and their immediate goal is to be as close to the border as possible. Today has shown, that the Greek government’s strategy to split up groups of refugees and lock them up in different camps along the way does not work. In northern Greece, thousands have started to walk towards the border: that is, Idomeni. The whole region seems to be on the move.

Hundreds stuck in the newly inaugurated former military camp in Diavata near Thessaloniki broke the fence today and started to walk towards Idomeni (70km). The camp in Diavata is completely closed off by police and military. No NGOs, no media and of course, no independent people were allowed to enter the camp. Also, no one was allowed to exit. However, the refugees could not be restrained by police, military and fences. They forged a way out and moved on, northbound.

In the meantime, those stuck at the Polykastro gas station decided to walk to Idomeni as well. Around 800 people were on the highway towards Idomeni this afternoon. There were further unconfirmed reports about other spots along the way, where people decided to walk.

Meanwhile, the camp in Idomeni is overcrowded. According to the UNHCR statistics of today, no one has been able to cross from Macedonia onwards. Macedonia, in accordance with the other Balkan route northern states and Austria, have declared mores thorough identity checks. This will mean further slowing of the registration processes and travelling speed of the refugees.

Whilst the camp in Idomeni remains overcrowded, protests and escalations can be expected there in the coming days. And as the recent developments have shown, thousands more can be expected to continue their journey onwards on foot along the highway towards Idomeni. The sight of hundreds walking along the highway are impressive and evoke the images of Keleti, Hungary in September 2015. They show the will of the refugees to reach the border and travel on. Once more, the different governments have made their plans without considering the agency and determination of the people on the move.

We have decided to change the format of our liveticker, in order to better accommodate the fast-pace changes happening simultaneously in many different locations in northern Greece. The several newly opened spots where people will be held back in the region around Thessaloniki as well as the highway from Athens now widen the geographical range from where people are setting off on foot, revolting and protesting. From now on, we will write one update per day in the evening, which will summarize the different events that occurred during the day between Thessalonki and the border in Idomeni. Short updates can be found during the day on our Twitter account: https://twitter.com/MovingEurope



Yesterday once more, we witnessed a violent police action against refugees in Idomeni. Once again, those who were denied their right of freedom of movement; those denied their right to seek asylum in western Europe; those who the EU bureaucrats decided had to stay in Greece; were removed from the border. Against their will and with the exclusion of media and independent observers they where forced into buses and driven away. But once again, these repressive measures were met with strong resistance. The day before, the segregated Afghans showed how committed they are to travel on, by marching to the gate to Macedonia/FYROM and blocking the train tracks.

Furthermore, many of those who are still in the camp of Idomeni now will face difficulties to continue their journeys, as the registration in Macedonia now requires passports or IDs, which many do not have. The entrance to Europe via the Balkan corridor has been outsourced to a closed camp in Gevgelija on Non-EU-territory where Macedonia carries out the dirty job of segregation and rejection. Meanwhile the European Union can pretend to have clean hands.

As it was already the case in December 2015, it is very dubious how these decisions were taken and where the domino effect began: State governments shift the blame to others, stating they were only reacting to restrictions others had already enforced. One explanation could be the decision taken at the regional police conference in Zagreb held on February the 18th. (See their joint statement here: http://www.mup.hr/UserDocsImages/topvijesti/2016/veljaca/migranti_sastanak/joint_statement.pdf) Paragraph 6 mentions Syria and Iraq as the only two examples for war-torn countries. Macedonia must have interpreted this enumeration not as a set of examples, but rather as an exhaustive list of war-countries deemed to produce individuals worthy of international protection.

The introduction of the new measures has led to a complete chaos on the Balkan corridor, which has once again deprived thousands of their basic rights. On the weekend hundreds of Afghans were deported from Croatia to Macedonia. Serbia has sealed off its borders, started to push people back to Macedonia and Bulgaria and has abolished the right to claim asylum for males between 14 and 60 years (see here: http://live.w2eu.info/). This is an immediate violation of the Geneva Refugee convention. Furthermore, the Eastern route via Bulgaria and Dimitrovgrad has been made impossible (see here: http://bulgaria.bordermonitoring.eu/2016/02/23/serbia-starts-deportations-to-bulgaria/), as only the document issued in Gevgelija/Macedonia will entitle refugees to travel via the „humanitarian corridor“. Thereby, people who actually fulfill all criteria are now asked to go back to Gevgelija to receive the newly introduced travel document. Whether this is going to be practicable, remains questionable. The authorities are playing ping-pong with refugees. Meanwhile, the public outcry about these outrageous and extralegal restrictions has not yet occurred.

The camp in Idomeni is still crowded, several hundreds are waiting at the gas station in Polykastro. Because of ongoing road blockades by farmers and the general chaotic situation in Athens and at the border, refugees are distributed along the route between Athens and Idomeni in small accommodation centers.

Activists from Athens have reported that the Sxisto camp close to Athens has already been filled with more than 1000 people, when more buses from Idomeni and Piraeus arrived, carrying mostly Afghans. This camp is open, but guarded by police and army. Access to independent observers is once more denied.


18.00: The camp is crowded, but the situation is calm. People from Syria and Iraq are slowly crossing the border. We are leaving the site now and continue reporting tomorrow.

17.30: The big group of Afghani that has been walking on the highway in police escort is not on the highway anymore. Most probably they have been forced in to buses and brought back to Athens after all.

17.00: 6 buses of Afghanis leave Idomeni. They are escorted by police. Around 20 people are sent back from Macedonia. Along with three remaining women still occupying the train tracks, they are put onto a bus and driven away. The camp is very crowded with people from Syria and Iraq.

15.00: A group  of around 150 people are walking on the highway towards Idomdeni. Unlike the many people who walked yesterday, this group is accompanied by three police cars. Presumably because they are people from Afghanistan, who have just been evicted from Idomeni. There is the rumour that evicted Afghans protested in the bus when they where driven away from idomeni. The bus driver had to stop. The people could then leave the bus and started walking back to idomeni. We assume it is this group accompanied by police.


13.30: Police is restricting entrance to the camp, they don’t want anybody to take photos. The group of 50 is there reportedly for five hours. It’s not clear why they are kept there. The border is open again for those who are fulfilling the official criteria. The camp is still crowded.

13.00: Still 50 refugees on the railway surrounded by riot police.

12.00: police are blocking the roads in a perimeter of approximately 3 kilometres around the camp. No independent  observers are allowed on site. 11 buses of people were sent away from the border. It is still unclear to where they have been brought.

10.00: This time, the Greek police did not wait for so long. They are removing the people who started blocking the train tracks yesterday. Just as on the 9th of December, no journalists or other independent observers are allowed inside the camp. People are said to be transported back to Athens and Thessaloniki.


Some impressions of today, we will continue reporting tomorrow.


17:00: Situation calm. The border area has ceased to be a completely police-controlled territory. Now people are setting up tents here. The camp is completely overcrowded as the border is closed and many SI people cannot pass as they don’t have passports. Reportedly, Polykastro gas station is nearly empty because most people left on foot earlier in the day and buses are said not to be allowed to leave Athens. Meanwhile, reports reached us from Piraeus port that the people waiting there are staging protests and blocking the roads.



16:00: Macedonia deploys a tank behind its fence. This is what European Union and its partners‘ politics look like.


15.30: More Greek police has arrived. Situation static for now.

15:15: Dozens have destroyed the Greek fence protecting the railway tracks.


15:00: Macedonia has deployed more riot police behind its fence.

14:30: Hundreds of Afghanis have broken through a police chain and are squatting the immediate border area.


14.00: Protests of the Afghans stuck and separated in Idomeni camp have arisen.

12:00: Tired of waiting several days at the gas station, hundreds decided to walk on the highway  towards Idomeni. It is a 20km walk. Among them many families, injured and old people.


Follow Moving Europe’s Twitter-Account for short updates, pictures and videos: twitter/movingeurope

On the 20th of February the police authorities of the states making up the ‘humanitarian corridor’ introduced a single biometric registration document for refugees wanting to enter the corridor. This document is now being issued at one single point on the whole route – the Greek-Macedonian/FYROM border – restricting and controlling the access to the corridor even further. Additionally, it is only being given to the people who can present a valid passport or ID.

As a result of this new policy, chaos has unfolded at numerous border crossings where people have become stuck in an administrative no man’s land. 617 Afghans remain stuck in Tabanovce, Macedonia at the time of writing. Whilst in Dimitrovgrad, on the night of the 20th of February a group of 40 people were denied registration papers by the Serbian authorities. They took a bus to Presevo were they were again refused. They then travelled to Sid, with no papers or passports: it is unclear how these cases are going to be dealt with now on the route. The new measures are certainly designed to criminalise and banish access to the corridor to those arriving from any other point than Idomeni.

At the Greek-Macedonian/FYROM border police have started narrowing down even further the nationalities who are able to enter the corridor as Afghanis have been removed from the nationalities allowed to travel onwards. Now, only Syrians and Iraqis are being issued the new travel document. In the joint statement released after the press conference of the police chiefs of Austria and the Balkan countries, only Syria and Iraq are mentioned as examples of provenance countries for refugees deemed worthy of international protection. This points towards an explanation to the new racist and illegal segregation which is being implemented at the entry to the corridor.

It remains to be seen now, how such implementations can effectively be held out in the next few days. With new arrivals at the islands higher than they have been in the past days and Afghanis constituting a large number of these, it can be predicted that large amounts of people – including many families with young children – will become stuck at the northern border of Greece. We expect the struggle against these racist and illegal measures to start very soon.

22.00: Of the several thousand people who have been waiting at the newly built camp at Polykastro gas station, around one thousand people started to walk this afternoon towards the border camp in Idomeni. The last groups arrived there around 10pm.

This shows that people do not bow to the decisions of European bureaucrats and policy makers. The authorities’ strategy to avoid a similar scenario as the one which took place in Idomeni in November/December 2015 is not working out. Keeping big crowds of people away from the border, especially people who will not be allowed to pass, cannot be avoided. If people are not taken there by bus, they find other ways.


The last days have been calm in Idomeni and at the gas station in Polykastro. There was a steady flow of people across the border in to Macedonia. However, people’s movement is controlled through several stops within Greece: on the Islands, within Athens and along the highway towards the border crossing. Several fixed camps are planed to be erected along the way.


Newly erected UNHCR tents at the Polykastro gas station


Camp in Idomeni


Whether or not there will be direct trains from Idomeni to Austria is
still up for debate. No matter what, the Idomeni border crossing
will certainly be a crucial point for the future of the Balkan corridor. Macedonia has set up a second fence behind the already existing one and Greek authorities are fencing up the area around the railroad tracks in the camp. Meanwhile a proper camp with high capacities is being constructed at Polykastro gas station.

All these enterprises indicate that the authorities seem not to be expecting less activity in the border area in the upcoming weeks…


As the situation in Idomeni and Polykastro is calming down again, with the flow of people going back to ‘normal’, new plans are announced by the EU politicans.

According to Are You Syrious’ news digest this morning, the Croatian Interior Ministry announced that refugee trains would no longer stop on the Balkan Route except for police and train personnel changes. Registration will be done on the Macedonian Border and trains will depart from there. This change in procedure would mean that refugees will perhaps be exonerated from the long waiting times, which currently happen at all registration points. However, it also signifies that we can expect increased numbers of people concentrated in a highly policed environment, around Idomeni in northern Greece. The Macedonian interior ministry announced last week that every person would undergo 30-minute interview before being given the green light pass the border.

This announced development on the corridor must be read in conjuncture with the recent establishment of hotspots on the Greek islands: pushes from the EU to make it harder for those who are currently not able to use the official corridor (non-Syrian, Iraqi and Afghanis), to pass into Europe and even seek asylum in the countries on the way up to Germany. Possibly, the restrictions will be expanded to even further groups of refugees.


According to Are You Syrious (https://www.facebook.com/areyousyrious) Slovenian police has denied this agreeement, saying that Ministers of all mentioned countries have met and agreed on sending officers to Macedonia, but denying agreement on trains. Also, they claim closing of camps was not discussed. We are still waiting on reactions from other countries, especially Macedonia and Austria.



Follow Moving Europe’s Twitter-Account for short updates, pictures and videos: www.twitter.com/movingeurope

The situation at the gas station in Polykastro was calm today with around 25 buses waiting. And so was Idomeni with only four buses. The UNHCR was building more tents at the gas station and there are talks about plans to construct a fixed camp with a larger capacity. Apparently work will start tomorrow. This indicates that the UNHCR and NGOs are expecting increases in the waiting times for people at the border and perhaps even restrictions of movement for more groups of refugees. The announcement of the Macedonian government to start conducting 30 minutes interviews with every person that wants to cross is also pointing in the direction of slowing down the traveling speed of people massively. Whether the people will bow to these measures remains to be seen. The protests of the last days show that people will not be easily immobilised and contained.


Follow Moving Europe’s Twitter-Account for short updates, pictures and videos: www.twitter.com/movingeurope

Reportedly, yesterday night a group of refugees tried to block the highway towards the border in protest of the long waiting time (4 days) at the gas station in Polykastro. They were quickly removed by the police. Some refugees announced that they would go on hunger strike if they were kept at the gas station for more days. Around the gas station there was an increased police presence, keeping people from walking on the highway as well as from walking on the field roads behind the camp. The camp is becoming a closed area, where people are no longer allowed to move freely.

Today though, the people who have been waiting for several days could cross the border into Macedonia. With the steady flow of buses to Idomeni, the situation at the gas station was calmer than in the last days.

Yesterday and today more people were allowed to cross the border, as state authorities were obviously afraid of further protest in the border areas.

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.