Nov 28, 2015 3:07 PM

The Latest: Macedonia: 18 officers injured in migrants clash

The Associated Press

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) The latest on the mass movement of asylum-seekers and others seeking refuge in Europe. All times local:

3:25 p.m.

Macedonia's interior ministry says 18 police officers were injured in a clash with a group of stranded migrants on the country's southern border with Greece.

The ministry says two of the officers have been hospitalized in the border town of Gevgelija.

The clashes erupted after a 24-year-old Moroccan migrant suffered severe burns when he touched a high-voltage cable on the Greek side of the border.

The migrants, already angry about the fact that Macedonia has started to erect a fence on the border, started throwing stones at police officers who were cordoning off the official checkpoint. Some police vehicles were also damaged, the ministry says.


3:25 p.m.

A government spokesman says Macedonia has started to erect a fence on its southern border with neighboring Greece in order to prevent illegal crossings and to channel the flow of migrants through the official checkpoint.

Aleksandar Gjorgjiev told The Associated Press that Macedonia has begun "all technical operations for channeling the migrant flow to official checkpoints in order to ensure humane treatment and to register the migrants."

Gjorgjiev said "the border will remain open and all migrants from the war-affected zones will be allowed to enter."

He added that "the dynamic and the structure of the migrants flow has been determined in accordance with EU demands and (those of) the countries of the Balkan route."


3:15 p.m.

Tensions between migrants stranded on the Greek side of the Greek-Macedonian border and Macedonian police have subsided.

Tension flared earlier Saturday after a migrant suffered severe burns when he touched a high-voltage cable.

The Moroccan man, one of those who have been banned from entering Macedonia, climbed on top of a stationary train carriage and touched a power cable overhead.

Greek police forces didn't actively intervene in the clashes, but positioned themselves between the migrants and Macedonian police to protect the latter, as the migrants would not throw stones at the Greeks.

The Moroccan, who suffered extensive burns when he touched the power cable, is in a serious condition, Greek police say.


1:10 p.m.

Macedonian police have charged into Greek territory after an estimated 250 or more asylum-seekers began pelting the police with rocks.

Police were chasing the migrants with stun grenades.

- By Costas Kantouris


12:40 p.m.

Tension has flared on the Greek side of the Greece-Macedonia border as a migrant suffered severe burns when he touched a high-voltage cable.

The man, one of those whose entry into Macedonia has been forbidden, climbed on top of a stationary train carriage and touched a power cable overhead. He was taken away in a Red Cross ambulance.

His fellow migrants are shouting slogans, and some are chanting "God is Great" in Arabic.

- By Costas Kantouris


11:30 a.m.

Macedonia is reinforcing a fence alongside its southern border of Greece to prevent illegal crossings by migrants.

A Macedonian army spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment before an official statement is released, confirmed the operation on Saturday but declined to provide details.

Greek police say about 800 migrants are stranded on the Greek side in worsening weather after Macedonia blocked access to citizens of countries that are not being fast-tracked for asylum in the European Union.

The movement of citizens from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan continues uninterrupted.

By Demetris Nellas


This story has been corrected to show the Moroccan who suffered severe burns was 24, not 32.

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