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Macedonian police clash with immigrants at border

The number of immigrants at the border is growing daily.

By Ed Adamczyk
Macedonian police clash with immigrants at border
Macedonia's police and army used stun grenades and tear gas to prevent Middle Eastern immigrants from entering the country from Greece Friday. Photo courtesy of Google maps.

GEVGELIJA , Macedonia, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Macedonia's police and army used stun grenades and tear gas to prevent Middle Eastern immigrants from entering the country from Greece on Friday.

About 3,000 people, attempting to pass through Macedonia on their way to more prosperous countries in Western Europe, were stopped at the Greek border at the city of Gevgeliga. The action is regarded as an attempt by Macedonia, which is not a European Union member, to better control the immigrant population streaming through the country. The number of refugees in Gevegelia is growing daily.

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"We are facing an increased pressure from the influx of migrants attempting to cross the border, but so far we have the situation under control, and there haven't been any major incidents or injuries. Within the last 24 hours, a total of 181 migrants have passed the border, which is around 10 times less than in the previous day," said Ivo Kotevski, spokesman for Macedonia's Internal Affairs Ministry.

The humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders reported 10 people were treated at the border for injuries from the stun grenades. The majority of those attempting to enter Macedonia are from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

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The incidents follow a declaration of a state of emergency at the Greek border and at Macedonia's northern border with Serbia. Over 40,000 immigrants have arrived in Macedonia within the past two months, and the chaotic scene is similar to that in Calais, France, where immigrants have massed in attempts to cross into Britain.

"The country does not have the capacity to help so many people, so we had to intervene," Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski said.

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