More than 1,000 migrants protested Macedonia’s new policy of processing only refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, where an immediate risk is present, and telling the rest to return to their own countries.
Migrants blocked traffic at the Macedonia-Greece border, some of them lying down on railroad tracks while others sewed their lips shut and called for hunger strikes.
Macedonia changed its immigration policy last week following the attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 and the discovery that at least one of the terrorists involved had likely traveled through Macedonia to reach France.
More than 4,500 people entered Macedonia on Saturday, traveling through the Balkan peninsula from Turkey. Refugees from countries other than Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan have been classified as only “economic migrants” and told to return to their own countries. But many, including migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Morocco, are demanding access to pass through to Central and Western Europe.
“We won’t go back,” signs held by many migrants read. Others lay on train tracks to block trains bound for Greece, and a report said one person attempted suicide before Macedonian police intervened.