International News Opinons Politics

Migrant Mobs Turn Violent at Greek Border, Army Deployed

Violent clashes erupted on the European Union’s common external border over the weekend as Greek border guards tried to stop migrants promised they could travel to Europe by the Turkish president from entering.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who leads the Islamist government in Ankara, told migrants the border was now open several days ago — a move widely regarded as punishment for the West’s failure to back his effective annexation of northern Syria, which has embroiled him in an increasingly deadly confrontation with the Syrian government and its backers in Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah.

The EU, including the United Kingdom, had been funnelling the Turkish government billions of euros in order to encourage Erogan to bring the flow of migrants under a modicum of control, but he has now reneged on that deal, and they are again travelling to the frontier in their tens of thousands — many of them in unmarked buses seemingly laid on for the purpose of transporting them.

The Greek border, however, remains closed, resulting in angry confrontations between Greek personnel and migrants who believed border guards on both sides of the frontier had been stood down.

Migrants have lit fires, hurled stones, and exchanged tear gas canisters with the Greek border guards, who have had to be reinforced by military personnel, in their efforts to breach the border and reach Europe.

The Greeks have for the most part held firm, although some dozens of migrants have illegally entered the country successfully, ranging down along the border in search of weak points to ford the Evros river or destroy sections of fencing with bolt cutters.

Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has promised that “the level of deterrence at our borders [has been increased] to the maximum” and taken the extraordinary step of suspending all asylum applications.

The New York Times believes this move may be illegal under the EU rules on asylum and immigration to which Greece is subject, but Prime Minister Mitsotakis says he has activated an emergency clause in the bloc’s treaties to “to ensure full European support”.

Whether or not this will be challenged in the Greek or EU courts by NGOs or other actors which favour open borders remains to be seen.

Story cited here.

Share this article:
Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter

→ What are your thoughts? ←
Scroll down to leave a comment: