Refugees from the Idomeni camp have moved to the motorway around Evzoni

Thessaloniki, 28 May, 2016 - 16:31 (META) 

The refugees from the camp on the Macedonian-Greek border who refused to leave and go to the other refugee centres near Thessaloniki have found shelter in empty buildings along the motorway.

Thousands of people have sent up their tents in abandoned petrol pumps in the surrounding area of Idomeni, just before the border crossing, Evzoni, in two abandoned buildings and the parking lot of the “Hara” Hotel in Evzoni.

According to official figures from the Greek Government, at the BP petrol pump at Evzoni, there are currently 1,433 refugees, and around the “Hara” Hotel, there are 1,425 refugees.

At the petrol pump near Polykastro where refugees used to wait for months to be transferred to the Idomeni camp, there are now approximately 1,900 refugees.

It is unknown how many refugees are hiding in derelict buildings and another petrol pump which are adjacent to Idomeni.

Well-known Chinese artist Ai Weiwei published photographs on his “Instagram” profile of refugees in their tents in abandoned buildings.

The Greek Government announced that their next course of action after emptying most of the Idomeni camp is to relocate the refugees who are camped out at the petrol pumps around Idomeni. This was announced by the Minister for Civil Protection, Nikos Ntoskas on Thursday, immediately after the police operation in Idomeni, and he also confirmed that the coordinator for dealing with the refugee crisis is Giorgos Kyritsis for newspaper “Kathimerini”.

“And the people who are in other informal caps will be relocated to the newly organised refugee centres”, Ntoskas emphasised.

On Tuesday, UNHCR expressed concern about the living conditions in the new refugee centres to the Greek Government and requested that they find alternative accommodation fast. This sparked quite a reaction from the Greek Government.

The coordinating body for dealing with the refugee crisis, recognised that there are shortcomings in the new refugee centres, but instead of criticism they expect UNHCR help improve living conditions.

As a reminder to those who have missed the recent developments, Greek authorities have officially relocated 3,700 refugees from Idomeni to new refugee centres around Thessaloniki. The operation to evacuate the Idomeni camp began on Tuesday with the removal of thousands of people to official refugee centres near Thessaloniki.

Before the police operation, it was estimated that there were 8,400 refugees at the Idomeni camp, which raises the question, where are the rest of the refugees?

Refugees are sinking in the mud and dirty water in Idomeni

Athens, 14 March, 2016 - 15:07 (META) 

The camp at Idomeni is completely flooded, and the fields where the refugees sleep in their thin tents has been turned into vast muddy swamp, after yesterday’s heavy rain in Northern Greece.

For the 12,000 people in the camp at Idomeni which is on the border with Macedonia, are desperately trying to escape the war in Syria and the poor living conditions in Iraq, however their whole ordeal is becoming a worse nightmare.

The tents where they slept have sunken in the mud, and there are no dry spaces for them to dry their clothes, shoes and blankets, and the cabins they received from volunteers to help stay dry because of the bad weather has not helped either.
Bad weather is one of the biggest fears for the refugees.

“Life in Idomeni is safe. The police are nice to us, we have no problems. We just fear the sky, to avoid bad weather and we hope our children stay healthy”, said in an interview with “Meta” a 40-year-old Syrian woman, who together with her three children and her husband are waiting for the chance to reach Macedonia, and continue their journey to Germany.

But not even the bad weather will dampen their spirit to reach Idomeni in hope that that the Macedonian side will open their doors and they will be able to leave Greece. Yesterday on the motorway to the border, one could see groups of refugees loaded with bags and blankets walking to Idomeni.

Besimi: We must have strong coordination with all countries in the region, and the EU

Gevgelija, 6 March, 2016 - 20:01 (META) 

Because of the situations with the migrants Macedonia, we must have strong coordination with all countries in the region, the countries of the Balkan Route, and the European Union, if we are to successfully implement EU decisions which are expected to be made tomorrow at the summit in Brussels.

This was stated by Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs, Fatmir Besimi, during his visit to the migrant camp “Vinojug” in the South of the country, Gevgelija.

According to him, the process for refugees is complicated because there should be humanitarian formal and legal dimensions, that must be observed to actually meet the needs of these people who need help, in line with international standards.

After the tour of the camp, Besimi concluded that migrants passing through the Macedonia have all the conditions for residence, and humane treatment during their transit through the country.

Within role as Coordinator for foreign assistance, donor coordination in Gevgelija also discussed preparations for the challenges ahead the county will be facing, situations that have occurred, in case of borders closure and making unilateral decisions by some countries that could cause additional problems.

At the foundations of the cross, it is quiet and peaceful, tents have been removed

Skopje, 5 March, 2016 - 11:56 (META) 

Today in Skopje’s neighborhood of Butel, the site where for two days citizens camped out who opposed the decision to set up a cross 55 meters high, is peaceful which is usual for a Saturday morning.

There is only more movement than usual, as vehicles head to the cemetery “Butel” due to the religious holiday “Saturday of Souls”.
Actually, it was the reason for the party’s leadership to remove the camp from where a week ago the cornerstone for the construction of the cross was laid.

It is unclear if the camp has been removed permanently or just for today’s Christian holiday. Now there are only teams at the site who are setting up a new palm tree, after one was burned down during the protests.

The tents are gone, and the only things that remains are the charred logs which burnt late into last night.
It’s peaceful now, and the places where last night citizens were stopped by police who wanted to defend the construction site of the cross.

Music, flags, tea and slogans at the “camp” at the foundations for the cross in Butel

Skopje, 4 March, 2016 - 10:43 (META) 

With Albanian music playing beside the bonfire, at least fifty mostly young Albanians continue to protest where on Sunday foundations for the cross in Butel were consecrated.

The palm tree which was set alight and the foundations of the cross buried, which is meant to be 55 metres high, are just some signs of minor incidents from last nights protest.
The place remains a campsite, there are two small tents and one large tent. One reporter from “Meta” noted that free

food and drink are being handed out to those camping, as well as tea and coffee.

There are Albanian flags and slogans that read “Albanians, Muslims and Albanian Catholics against the placement of religious symbols”.

The interlocutors we talked to, say they will stay until the decision on building the cross is withdrawn.

“We are not against the building of a church, but we think that the place of a cross is not for here. If there were plans to build a church, there would be no reason to protest. I think this is just a provocation to the Albanians, but we will not allow it. If they want, they can freely build a lion”, says our interlocutor who insisted they remain anonymous.

According to the interlocutors, the protest is not political, but has members from different political parties. They say they will not give up their intentions to stop a cross from being built in this space.

A group of demonstrators led by the DUI party’s leadership yesterday protested in Butel where the cornerstone was placed for the cross. They pulled down the entire fenced area around the foundation and set up tents and Albanian flags.


Greece fears that Macedonia will completely close its border to refugees

Athens, 21 January, 2016 - 11:26 (META) 

The number of refugees in Idomeni is on the rise as the border crossing remains closed.
Fear has begun to grow in Greece because of the decision to close the Macedonian border to refugees may be more than just temporary.
Although the official explanation is that the border is closed at the request of Slovenia due to a malfunction on the railway, it comes after Germany and Austria announced that they are considering to reduce the number of refugees that will be admitted to the European Union. In Greece this has created huge anxiety because it may be the case that this is some kind of prearranged scenario to close the borders.
“The border has been closed since Tuesday and although the measure is being called ‘temporary’, signs from the Balkans and Austria show that it is closed only in one direction,” writes the daily “Kathimerini”, suggesting that there is a possibility that the border will remain shut, or if opened there will be strong controls and conditions for refugees passing through.

The number of refugees arriving at the border increases. According to the Greek news agency ANA, currently, there are approximately 800 refugees waiting to enter Macedonia.

Croatian Army prepares the construction of a winter camp for migrants

Slavonski Brod, 16 October, 2015 - 17:57 (META) 

The Croatian Army have begun to prepare the ground in Slavonski Brod to build a winter camp for the migrants. Along side solid objects on the ground, there will also be tents with a capacity for 5,000 people.
Trains packed with migrants arrive daily at the Botovo crossing, where the migrants leave on foot to Austria.

Along that route alone, 130,000 refugees have currently passed through.

The “Guardians of Democracy” removed their camp

Skopje, 4 August, 2015 - 9:54 (META) 

The supporters of the government, or as they call themselves “Guardians of Democracy”, dismantled their camp in the park across the National Assembly, where they had stayed during the past two and a half months. According to the people whom we met in the part, the removing of the camp started on Saturday night and was over by the following day.

The “Guardians of Democracy” camp was set up to mimic the camp that the opposition set up across the Government’s building.

Nobody said in concrete terms why the camp in front of the Assembly remain even after the Przhino Agreement was signed. They say from the camp that they will stay there to support the politics of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. Some of the campers said for Meta, that the removal of the camp will be decided by the Central Committee of the party in Government – VMRO-DPMNE.

The camp in front of the Assembly was set up following the mass meeting of VMRO-DPMNE on May 18.

The camp in front of the Government’s building was taken apart only few days after the parties signed an Agreement on July 15.

Serbian border closed to migrants

Kumanovo, 19 July, 2015 - 13:56 (META) 

Serbian authorities have decided to close the border with Macedonia, Tabanovce, for migrants and it was done this morning around 7 am, reports “New TV” ( ).

Explanation of Serbia for the move is that there is no more room in the refugee camp in Preshevo. The camp is crowded and has no capacity to accept new migrants.

Serbia says the border will remain closed until the camp in Preshevo is full.

The camp in front of the Parliament remains, the decision of the Central Committee of VMRO-DPMNE is awaited

Skopje, 16 July, 2015 - 13:41 (META) 


“Keepers of democracy” from the camp in the park “Zhena Borec” opposite the Parliament are still waiting for the decision of party bodies within the VMRO-DPMNE, after that they will know whether to withdraw as the activists from the opposite camp, which today raised the tents of “Camp freedom “from in front of the Government.

At the camp opposite the Parliament today the atmosphere was normal same as in the past days.

Although from the camp yesterday for “Meta” they said that on the meeting scheduled for the evening the same day, will be decided for the camp, however, as they say today, this has not happened.

They say that at the meeting last night other issues were discussed, and the camp will be further addressed.

– There is still no decision, and the camp remains. At last evening’s meeting other issues were discussed. For the camp it will be decided coordinately by the Central Committee and municipal committees, and until then we remain here. If they say to withdraw, we will do it, if there is a decision to stay will stay – they say from the camp of “Keepers of democracy.”

It is still unclear whether, if it will be decided to remove the camp, the President of VMRO-DPMNE, Nikola Gruevski, and the party leadership will address the activists in the camp, as SDSM leader Zoran Zaev did last night.

The camp opposite the Parliament was set after the rally of VMRO-DPMNE on May 18, on the boulevard in front of legislative home, as a counter response to the rally and the camp of the opposition in front of the Government.