Greek police started removing migrants from the Greek-Macedonian border on Tuesday after additional passage restrictions imposed by Macedonian authorities left hundreds stranded while more were ferried from islands to Greece’s main Piraeus port.
The migrants had squatted on rail lines in the Idomeni area on Monday after attempting to push through the border to Macedonia, angry at delays and additional restrictions in crossing. They were expected to be taken to relocation camps inside Greece.
There were an estimated 1,200 people at Idomeni, in their vast majority Afghans or individuals without proper travel documents. A crush developed there on Monday after Macedonian authorities demanded additional travel documentation, including passports, for people crossing into their territory.
But there are concerns at what may happen in Greece, where an influx continues unabated to its islands daily from Turkey. On Tuesday morning, a further 1,250 migrants arrived in Athens by ferry from three Greek islands.
“It’s a difficult management exercise. I don’t know if the planning is adequate. The flows are increasing, more ships are coming,” Piraeus mayor Yannis Moralis told Mega TV during a visit at the port’s station where migrants had gathered.
He said the port’s terminals were full, mostly with women and children. “It’s a difficult situation, not only for Piraeus but for the country as well.”
Some of the migrants had bus tickets to Idomeni, but it was unclear if they would be permitted to travel north from Athens.