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'Open the borders': thousands call for end to Balkan route restrictions

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By Euronews  with Reuters
'Open the borders': thousands call for end to Balkan route restrictions

<p>Thousands of migrants, stranded on the Greek frontier with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (<span class="caps">FYROM</span>), have staged an angry protest, calling for the borders on the Balkan route to be reopened.</p> <p>A week after Austria decided to restrict access into the country to 3,200 people per day, Macedonian, Slovenian, Croatian and Serbian authorities unilaterally set new daily entry limits of 580.</p> <p>Police say more than 5,000 people are stranded at the Idomeni camp, on the Greek side of the border. </p> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet tw-align-center" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Trapped and freezing at the Greece/Macedonia border <a href="https://t.co/ZGEIMOYlv0">https://t.co/ZGEIMOYlv0</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RefugeesWelcome?src=hash">#RefugeesWelcome</a> <a href="https://t.co/wxFcp0Ya87">pic.twitter.com/wxFcp0Ya87</a></p>— Jim Murphy (@jimmurphySF) <a href="https://twitter.com/jimmurphySF/status/698039078957162496">February 12, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <p><a href="http://www.euronews.com/2016/02/05/increasing-obstacles-for-migrants-on-greece-fyrom-border/">Tighter controls imposed by neighbouring <span class="caps">FYROM</span></a> mean <a href="http://www.euronews.com/2016/02/22/fyrom-blocks-afghan-migrants-at-border/">Afghans are no longer allowed to enter</a>, leaving them stuck in northern Greece, with few options. </p> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet tw-align-center" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Scene at Greece-Macedonia border at Idomeni as Afghans now prevented from proceeding. Chaos again. <a href="https://t.co/6pdZ66weBK">pic.twitter.com/6pdZ66weBK</a></p>— Peter Bouckaert (@bouckap) <a href="https://twitter.com/bouckap/status/701769543459454976">February 22, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <p>Stricter document checks on Syrians and Iraqis have slowed their passage north to little more than a trickle.</p> <p>Nedal, a Syrian, is one of those stuck at the border. She made the journey from Damascus.</p> <p>“We are three days here: rainy and cold and no food. People have spent all their money. We want just to pass, safely please,” she pleaded.</p> <p>Ramadan, from Aleppo, added:</p> <p>“We can not stay here (and) do nothing. Last night I sleep outside and no water. Much families I see sleep without tents, and they tell us today will come tents, and no tents, no tents for all.”</p> <p>Voicing concern, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on all countries to keep their borders open.</p> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet tw-align-center" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">We are concerned by Balkan border closures - more from <a href="https://twitter.com/RefugeesChief">@refugeeschief</a> in Greece yesterday <a href="https://t.co/ZJUGORAR5R">https://t.co/ZJUGORAR5R</a> <a href="https://t.co/ecP7RdhhR8">pic.twitter.com/ecP7RdhhR8</a></p>— UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) <a href="https://twitter.com/Refugees/status/702504854716092416">February 24, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet tw-align-center" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">"It will increase the burden on Greece" <a href="https://twitter.com/RefugeesChief">@refugeeschief</a> on Balkans border closures yesterday <a href="https://t.co/lTFGrpRuEg">https://t.co/lTFGrpRuEg</a> <a href="https://t.co/MdNQZPxn2M">pic.twitter.com/MdNQZPxn2M</a></p>— UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) <a href="https://twitter.com/Refugees/status/702528612898115584">February 24, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p>