Migrant crisis: Macedonian police use tear gas and stun grenades on desperate migrants attempting to cross border from Greece

Country declared a state of emergency on Thursday following the massive influx of migrants

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The Independent Online

Riot police in Macedonia have fired tear gas and stun grenades on desperate migrants attempting to cross the border from Greece.

From behind barbed wire, Macedonian officers used tear gas to drive back migrants who attempted to charge the border on Friday morning having spent the night in the open.

The small Balkan state declared a state of emergency on Thursday, placing its southern border on lock down as its government said it would deploy the military.

Approximately 3,000 migrants are reportedly caught in the dusty no-man's-land near the small Macedonian town of Gevgelija between the two countries after landing in Greece and attempting to make their way to wealthier European countries to the north.

Watch riot police use tear gas against migrants below.

On Friday, police officers also allegedly used stun grenades in an attempt to disperse the crowds. Four people were reportedly injured in the ensuing chaos.

“The Macedonian authorities are responding as if they were dealing with rioters rather than refugees who have fled conflict and persecution," said Amnesty International’s Europe Deputy Director Gauri van Gulik.

He continued: “All countries have a duty to protect those fleeing conflict and persecution, and Macedonia is no exception. When the system cannot cope, you improve the system - you don’t just stop people from coming in.”

Supported by armoured vehicles, officers spread coils of razor wire over the rail tracks in an attempt to discourage migrants from crossing the border.

The passage via Gevgelija has been abruptly halted by the armed intervention. Reuters reported on Thursday how at the town's railway station migrants, who had already managed the fraught journey into Europe, passed their young children through the windows of packed trains en route to Serbia in a last-ditch effort to gain entry to northern Europe.

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A migrant reacts as he carries a child during clashes with Macedonian police

Interior Ministry spokesman Ivo Kotevski told the news agency that although they "cannot hermetically close the borders" they will attempt to "reduce illegal border entry to a minimum."

According to Macedonia’s Ministry of Interior almost 42,000 refugees have arrived in the country in the last two months in an attempt to reach northern European nations, such as Austria, Germany, Sweden or Britain.

Additional reporting by Reuters and Associated Press

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