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Greece-FYROM diplomatic row deepens

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By Catherine Hardy  with Reuters
Greece-FYROM diplomatic row deepens

<p><p></p> <h3><strong>The news</strong></h3> </p> <p>The situation on the border between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is under control.</p> <p>But the atmosphere remains tense.</p> <p>Tear gas canisters lie all around – a tangible sign of the violent confrontation that took place here on Sunday.</p> <p>Thousands of migrants and refugees are stranded at the camp here at Idomeni. </p> <p>Yesterday, their anger boiled over and they stormed the border fence. <p></p> <h3><strong>Diplomatic outrage is growing</strong></h3> </p> <p>“I would like to say that this is a big shame for European society and for countries that want to be part of that society,” said <strong>Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras</strong>.</p> <p>“I am waiting for the European authorities, international organizations and the <span class="caps">UNHCR</span> to say something about what happened yesterday,” he added.</p> <p>Athens says the Macedonian police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades on migrants on the Greek side of the border.</p> <p>Macedonian officials will only say tear gas was used after the crowds started throwing stones and stormed the fence.</p> <p>Aid workers say more than 300 people were injured.</p> <p>They say some were treated for open wounds but the majority were suffering from the effects of breathing in tear gas. <p></p> <h3><strong>What happened?</strong></h3> </p> <p>Scores of migrants and refugees were wounded on Sunday in a confrontation with Macedonian police on the joint border with Greece.</p> <p>Athens says police on the Macedonian side of their joint border used tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades to force the crowds back.</p> <p>In another strong statement, a government spokesperson described the use of force as “unacceptable”.</p> <p>“We urge the authorities of <span class="caps">FYROM</span> to comprehend the potential risks the use of violence against migrants and refugees entails,” said <strong>George Kyritsis, the Greek government’s spokesman on migration</strong>. <p></p> <h3><strong>What <span class="caps">FYROM</span> says</strong></h3> </p> <p>A Macedonian police spokesman said the situation at the border is under control but remains tense.</p> <p>On condition of anonymity, a Macedonian official said a large group of migrants left the Idomeni camp on Sunday morning and tried to storm the border fence.</p> <p>The authorities will only confirm they used tear gas.</p> <p>“They threw rocks at the Macedonian police. The police fired tear gas in response,” said the official. </p> <p>Police in Skopje say three officers were hurt. <p></p> <h3><strong>In numbers</strong></h3> </p> <ul> <li>300+ people injured (<span class="caps">MSF</span>)</li> <li>30 for rubber bullet injuries</li> <li>30 for open wounds</li> <li>200 for breathing difficulties</li> <li>50,000 refugees stranded in Greece</li> <li>11,200 at Idomeni</li> </ul>