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Refugees to march to Greece-FYROM border, one Iraqi tried to set himself on fire

Men, women and children, some 60 refugees and migrants, have gathered in downtown of Thessaloniki awaiting for more people to join them in their protest march to Greece’s northern border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

The first tents were set up and the first sleeping bags and blankets were spread on the pavements already on Wednesday morning in Aristotelous Square in the center of the city in Northern Greece.

They said, they followed the call for a protest march to the borders.

The call urging them to protest their inability to move to other European countries was spread through social media, the initiative organizers are not known.

Majority of protesters were so far from Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Some arrived last night from refugee camps in Athens and other regions on the Greek mainland.

Speaking to local media, refugees said they had come from Athens and take part in this protest due to “the unfavorable living conditions in Greece” and that “they will move through Skopje to countries of Northern Europe.”

They noted that they would stay in Thessaloniki maybe until tomorrow, as they are waiting for refugees from other accommodation facilities in the city to join them.

Wednesday noon, one asylum seeker attempted to set himself on fire. The man from Iraq was holding a bottle with fuel. Other refugees managed to hinder him from spreading the liquid on his clothes and set himself alite.

The people complained about the living conditions and the health care. “You ask for a health appointment and you get one after four months,” a refugee from Iraq said adding “it is like prison here, we want respect, we are not animals.”

According to latest information, they plan to start marching at 07:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

More than 62,000 of refugees and migrants are stuck in Greece after countries along the so-called Balkan Route closed their borders in February 2016. Asylum procedures are slowly moving on a turtle pace and asylum seekers are losing their patience.

PS I hope these poor people will not be exposed to rain and cold hoping they will be able to cross the border and reach any other European or Balkan country except Greece.

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  1. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    The refugee crisis of 2015 remains a crisis. The EU has failed; Greece has failed. All EU politicians should resign in humiliation, instead of which they continue collecting their bloated salaries, not to mention the corruption and embezzlement that is so clearly visible in many countries.

  2. It depends on the perspective you take. Most decent human beings would agree with you. The EU politicians and their Greek lackeys probably thinks this crisis has been dealt with splendidly. After all, think about it. They’ve stopped refugees actually going to Northern Europe while continuing to mouth off about how, should they ever make it there, they would be treated with respect and dignity. They managed to make Greece ultimately responsible for all the ills that are befalling refugees.

    I’m almost certain that their business cronies are getting much, if not most, the funds that have been released to help the refugees and in turn their cronies are sure to be grateful to them (I would love to learn what percentage of the funds earmarked for refugees actually reach the targeted population and what percentage goes to salary, administrative costs, etc.).

    How the funds targeted for relief of refugees are actually spent is notoriously opaque (and not just in this instance – the American Red Cross has a bad, bad reputation in this respect). Is there any publication that gives an accounting breakdown of what the funds have been used for and has that list been audited independently? Curious minds would like to know.

  3. 1. Just because you crossed a border (illegally probably) or got into a boat run by human traffickers doesn’t give you the RIGHT to anything really. 80% of those coming aren’t refugees anyway. Just wait to see what happens if Turkey opens all the gates. Actually Turkey should turn East to Russia and China and forget about Europe. It would be better for both parties. Why waste time and money on these silly negotiations which have been going on for years and years?

    2.Nobody wants to look at the real causes of this problem which is mostly the warmongering US and NATO. Get out of the Middle East. This ridiculous idea that you must secure the oil has cost too many liver, especially of innocent people. Has any country in MENA ever refused to sell the West oil at a fair price? Therefore the strategy is for the oil to NOT fall in the hands of Russia or China, etc. Just a policy of a few neocon idiots in Washington. For that the Middle East must pay an astronomical price in lives. Don’t forget to pay your taxes to fund weapon purchases and finance all this slaughter.

    3. The EU is a dictatorial farce and Greece should have left it 7 years ago. When the EU falls apart (which it surely will considering the resistance from the former East European countries) you Greeks will find yourselves out of the EU and out of the Euro ANYWAY. This after wasting 8 years with no real improvements for the people or real economy. Brussels and people like Schäuble are only for the bankers and other 1%.

  4. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    @carl. The proportion of people arriving irregularly in Greece who get humanitarian protection is about 70-80%. I don’t know where you read this right wing propaganda, but you should ignore it.