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Macedonian police fires teargas at women and children. Idomeni, Europe’s biggest shame

Macedonian police fired teargas and rubber bullets at migrants trying to cross the border in Idomeni, Greece. Women and children were left wounded.

More than 260 wounded, including hundreds for teargas exposure and dozens for rubber bullet wounds: the one issued by Médicins sans frontières (MSF), which treated and took care of the victims of the Macedonian police in Idomeni, Greece, was a true war bulletin.

 

The tension in the refugee camp, in the border between Greece and Macedonia, is skyrocketing. Due to the border closure in the Balkans, in the last few weeks all new arrivals are going to Idomeni. 12,000 including Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian people: but just the latter can seek asylum in Europe. The others will be sent back to Turkey by the European Union. But they still aim to cross the borders of the Balkans to reach western European countries.

 

In Idomeni the situation worsened when hundreds of people tried to break through the Greek border after hearing activists of different non-governmental organisations talking about a sudden border opening. When the Macedonian police denied these rumours, the refugees who had lived in the camp in poor hygienic conditions for weeks tried to climb over the border fence and enter in Macedonia.

 

According to the head of Médicins Sans Frontières, at least 260 refugees have been treated by the volunteers: 200 for respiratory problems, 30 for wounds caused by rubber bullets and another 30 for other wounds. Many migrants have been hospitalized in the hospital of Kilkis.

 

“It’s crazy that Europe responds to a call for help by firing teargas to people fleeing war, mostly if these include children” said Giovanna di Benedetto, Save the Children’s spokesperson, remembering also that of the group of 12,000 migrants in Idomeni, “about 4,000, 36-37%, are minors. We’re convinced that the way the European Union and Turkey are implementing their agreement is inhumane and illegal”, she added.

 

The pictures of children with reddened and fearful eyes and the face covered to protect themselves from teargas has soon gone around the world, showing an unprepared and violent Europe towards those who seek protection from war and poverty.

 

“What people need is to be treated with dignity, not violence or unpredictable border closures and more uncertainty. This absurd humanitarian crisis created by European states’ policies is becoming more unbearable by the day. This absurd humanitarian crisis created by European states’ policies is becoming more unbearable by the day”, said Jose Hulsenbek, MSF’s Head of Mission in Greece who also confirmed that the wounded people included pregnant women and children. And according to the NGO’s volunteers the situation in the next few months could give rise to a humanitarian crisis: with summer and hot temperatures ahead, the hygienic conditions in the camp will surely worsen.

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