Stranded migrants head for dangerous route north

Hundreds of migrants and refugees walked out of an overcrowded camp on the Greek-Macedonian border Monday, determined to use a dangerous crossing to head north.

HAMILO, Greece — Hundreds of migrants and refugees walked out of an overcrowded camp on the Greek-Macedonian border Monday, determined to use a dangerous crossing to head north.

More than 300 people, including dozens of children, were heading west toward a river that crosses the border, about 5 kilometres (3 miles) outside the village of Idomeni, where some 14,000 people are stranded at a sprawling camp.

They refused to turn back at a Greek police cordon outside the camp.

More than 40,000 people have been stranded in Greece after Macedonia and other ex-Yugoslav countries closed their borders to migrants and refugees — prompting them to seek more dangerous crossings.

Underscoring the risks, police in Macedonia said the bodies of two men and one woman, believed to be migrants, were found Monday in the Suva Reka river near the border with Greece. Twenty migrants crossed safely and another three were hospitalized, authorities said.

“This is the situation in which people have become desperate and frustrated,” said Ljubinka Brasnarska, a spokeswoman in Macedonia for the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR.

“The border restrictions imposed by the countries have forced people to take desperate actions.”

Police and armed forces on the Macedonian side of the border have stepped up patrols along parts of the newly-built border fence where migrants are likely to cross.

Parts of the fence are made up solely of coils of razor wire, while breaks in the barrier also occur at rivers and mountain slopes on the border, mainly to the east of Idomeni.

A cap on migrants imposed by Austria last month set off a domino effect of border closures across the Balkans, leaving thousands stranded in Greece.

Despite the closures, more 8,500 refugees and migrants travelled to the Greek islands from Turkey last week, according to the UNHCR.

In an interview published Sunday, Austria’s foreign minister said border closures should be extended.

Sebastian Kurz told Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper that the route leading through Italy to central Europe should also be blocked.

“Smuggling can’t be prevented entirely … (so) we will have to do everything that we are now doing on the western Balkan route along the Italy-Mediterranean route too.” he said.

“The time of waving through refugees to central Europe is over.”

Just Posted

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Red Deer Emergency Services responded to an explosion at a duplex on Rupert Crescent Saturday morning. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Firefighters respond to explosion in Red Deer early Saturday morning

There was an explosion at a Red Deer duplex early Saturday morning.… Continue reading

Terry Betts, of Kananaskis, looks at the vehicle he was hoping to sell during the Quick Times Red Deer Swap Meet in the Westerner Park parking lot Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Quick Times Red Deer Swap Meet held outdoors

A big automotive swap meet was held outdoors this year in Red… Continue reading

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is set to re-open on July 2. (File Photo)
Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum to reopen Monday

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum will reopen for visitors… Continue reading

Huzaifa (left), Saif (middle) and Zoya (right) were among the 60 or so Red Deerians who participated in a vigil for the victims of a recent terrorist attack that killed four people in London Ont. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Red Deer vigil honours victims of London, Ont. terrorist attack

About 60 people gathered at the corner of 49 Ave. and 50… Continue reading

A man wears a face mask as he walks by a sign for a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, May 16, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canada paid a premium to get doses from Pfizer earlier than planned

OTTAWA — Canada paid a premium to get more than 250,000 doses… Continue reading

The Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., is shown in this 1930 handout photo. HO — Deschatelets-NDC Archives
Calls grow for Ottawa to review settlement decisions for residential school survivors

Lawyer Teri Lynn Bougie still cries when she talks about the final… Continue reading

Syringes are readied at a COVID-19 mobile vaccination clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, Friday, April 30, 2021 in Montreal. Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for Canada to donate some of its doses to other countries or international aid organizations and in at least three cases, for the doses to be resold.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada’s vaccine contracts allow for doses to be donated, in some cases resold

OTTAWA — Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for… Continue reading

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, responds to the report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in Vancouver, on Monday June 3, 2019. As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Two sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

VANCOUVER — As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after… Continue reading

A woman sits and weeps at the scene of Sunday's hate-motivated vehicle attack in London, Ont. on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Four members of a family in London, Ont., are set to be buried today. The public has been invited to help celebrate the lives of Talat Afzaal, 74, her son Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, and their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Salman.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins
Funeral to be held today for London family killed in attack

LONDON, Ont. — Four members of a Muslim family killed in what… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden listen to United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson deliver opening remarks at a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, United Kingdom Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau to discuss foreign policy with G7 leaders at second day of summit meeting

CARBIS BAY, CORNWALL, ENGLAND — Foreign policy is on the agenda for… Continue reading

Multivitamins are shown on the packaging line at the Pfizer plant in Montreal, Thursday, July 12, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canadian drug companies want new pricing regs delayed again until after pandemic

OTTAWA — Almost three dozen Canadian pharmaceutical companies made a direct appeal… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — The massive $70 million dollar Lotto Max jackpot remained unclaimed… Continue reading

Most Read