Thousands of migrants leave Macedonia by train to Serbia

Thousands of migrants boarded trains Sunday in Macedonia headed north to Serbia after being stuck at the border for several days and blocked from continuing on their journey toward European Union member Hungary.

Sunday’s movements followed clashes Friday and Saturday with Macedonian police who tried to block the migrants from entering the country from Greece.  The government had declared a state of emergency and ordered its borders sealed to the migrants.

But thousands of people, many of them Syrian refugees, were able to run past the officers Saturday and make it to Macedonian territory after days spent in the open without access to shelter, food or water.

Authorities then lifted the restrictions and allowed migrants to cross freely, allowing them to board the trains Sunday without problems.

The issue of what to do with the number of migrants trying to access Europe has left governments and the EU as a whole debating how to respond.

The International Organization for Migration said as of last week that more than 250,000 migrants had crossed by sea to Europe this year, mostly landing in Italy and Greece.

They fled areas that have seen years of conflict and political turmoil, with Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Nigeria the top countries of origin.


(Photo: Government of Macedonia)