Stranded migrants, mostly from Pakistan, clash with police on the Greek-Macedonian border demanding passage to western Europe. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
Macedonian police fired tear gas at hundreds of mostly Pakistani migrants who tried to storm into the Balkan country from Greece on Wednesday (December 2), demanding passage to wealthier countries northern Europe. About 1,500 Pakistanis, Moroccans and Iranians have been stuck in a no-man's land between Greece and Macedonia for weeks after non-European Union Balkan states began filtering migrants and granting passage only to refugees fleeing Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Protests have swelled among desperate migrants stranded for days in squalid tent camps on the border in temperatures barely above freezing. Tensions boiled over at the weekend after one migrant, believed to be Moroccan, was electrocuted and badly burned when he climbed on top of a rail wagon. Wednesday's violence broke out after about 200 people were denied passage and began walking for several kilometers alongside a newly erected border fence, seeking an alternative opening. Macedonian police fired tear gas to push back the crowd and one officer fired warning shots in the air. More than 800,000 people, most fleeing war, persecution and poverty in the Middle East, have arrived in Europe this year, overwhelming the continent's ability to cope with the unprecedented stream of people.