Greek bus drivers migrants block highway over border impasse
(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Migrants walk to buses that will transport them to the Greek-Macedonian border following their arrival aboard the passenger ferry Eleftherios Venizelos at the port of Piraeus near Athens Greece February 1 2016.Reuters
By Fedja Grulovic
POLIKASTRO Greece: Greek bus drivers andmigrant passengers seeking to reach western Europe blockedtraffic on the main highway running north to Macedonia onThursday tempers fraying over the slow pace of passage over theborder.
At least 80 buses have been backed up short of Greece'snorthern border with Macedonia for several days.
Macedonia is letting migrants cross only in small numbersblaming a protest by Macedonian taxi drivers who have parkedtheir cars on the railway line because they are angry thatpolice have been directing migrants first to trains and busesfor the journey north to Serbia en route to western Europe.
One train left the Macedonian border station of Gevgelija onWednesday morning carrying hundreds of migrants amid reports ofa deal with the taxi drivers but by the afternoon they had
resumed their protest.
On Thursday after another night spent at a petrol station14 km (8.7 miles) south of the border frustrated Greek busdrivers parked their vehicles across the main road and werejoined by hundreds of migrants chanting "Merkel Merkel" aReuters cameraman at the scene said.
Most migrants many of them refugees from Syria are headingfor Germany where Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing a risingpublic backlash against her decision last year to open Germany'sdoors to those fleeing increasing armed conflict and deprivationin the Middle East Africa and Asia.
"There's a small flow towards Skopje and it's causingtension among migrants who have been waiting for days" a Greekpolice source said on condition of anonymity.
Another Greek official said: "Authorities in Skopje areallowing a few migrants to pass and because of a boost inarrivals there are migrants waiting in the cold for days."
Balkan states straddling the migrant route northwards towealthy western and northern Europe have begun denying passageto all those not coming from conflict regions of Syria Iraq orAfghanistan.
More than 1.1 million people fleeing poverty war andrepression in the Middle East Asia and Africa reached Europe'sshores last year almost all heading for Germany.
More than 62000 arrived in Greece last month and a further91671 in Germany.