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Protests flare up in Greece and Turkey over migrant crisis

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By Joanna Gill  with Reuters,
Protests flare up in Greece and Turkey over migrant crisis

Migrants form a human chain to block traffic near the Greek border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

They are calling on the EU to reopen its borders and allow them to continue their journey to western Europe.

‘‘Who are they closing for? For us Syrians?”, asks one of the protesters.

“There is a war. Imagine there is a war in your country, what would you do?

“You would have to leave. We want the borders to open, that’s all.’‘

Idomeni has become the temporary home to many of the 51,000 migrants stranded in Greece.

Residents staged a protest for an immediate removal of the transit camp.

Mayor of Idomeni, Xanthoula Soupli said: “For the villagers, the period to grow crops has begun, but unfortunately they cannot cultivate their fields because of the tents and the people that stay there.

“In a while we will be dealing with an issue of survival.”

A controversial EU deal to return migrants and refugees who land on Greek islands is due to come into effect on Monday.

Plans to make the Turkish port town of Dikili into a reception centre have been met with fierce opposition.

On Saturday the Turkish coastguard stopped nearly 200 people, highlighting the challenge facing authorities tasked with stemming the flow of migrants to Europe.