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Scenes Of Desperation As Afghan Refugees Are Stuck Outside Macedonia's Border

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 22/02/2016 Alexandra Ma

Macedonia closed its borders to Afghan refugees and migrants on Sunday, leaving thousands of people stranded along a popular migrant route to northern Europe. Photos and videos shot on Monday near Idomeni, a Greek village near the Macedonian border, show how desperate people are to find a new home in Europe.

Hundreds of Afghans protested outside the Idomeni border crossing, holding signs with messages like "We don't need food. Just open borders."

Macedonia, a landlocked Balkan country located just north of Greece, is a common passageway for migrants and refugees hoping to travel through Serbia and Hungary toward countries like Germany and Sweden.

The heads of police in Macedonia, Serbia, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia issued a joint statement last Thursday, vowing to reduce the flow of people into their countries "to the greatest possible extent" while noting that they would still make exceptions for Syrians and Iraqis.

Last November, Macedonia restricted entry to migrants and refugees, while still allowing people from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq to cross the border. Now, the country is barring Afghans, who make up the second-largest group entering Europe by sea, according to U.N. statistics.

On Monday, Greece said it had "begun diplomatic moves" to persuade Macedonia to open the border. Over 94,000 refugees and migrants have entered Greece via the Mediterranean in 2016 alone, and the country is struggling to cope with the massive influx as its economy falters.

The video below captures migrants and refugees' fear, anger and frustration as they are denied entry into Macedonia.

View more images from the Greece-Macedonia border below.

Read More About Europe's Migrant And Refugee Crisis:

- A Thousand Miles In Their Shoes

- Greece's Economy Is Getting Crushed Between Austerity And The Refugee Crisis

- Migrants And Refugees Stuck In Greece Face Uncertain Future

- Former Child Refugee Wants To Help Solve Europe's Migrant Crisis

- How Europe's Tragic Refugee And Migrant Crisis Got So Dire

- A Day In The Life Of Afghan Refugees In Athens' Victoria Square

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