Hundreds of migrants stranded in northern Greece block the main highway to Macedonia, angry at delays to their journey north caused by protesting taxi drivers and farmers on the border. Rough Cut - Subtitled (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - SUBTITLED (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Hundreds of migrants stranded in northern Greece blocked the main highway towards Macedonia on Tuesday (February 2) angry at delays to their journey north caused by protesting taxi drivers and farmers on the border. The migrants, many of them refugees from Syria, chanted "Macedonia, Macedonia" and sat down in the road. Meanwhile another large group of some 1,000 people, mainly families with children, set out on foot along the highway towards the Macedonian border. Around 80 buses packed with migrants were backed up short of the border, their journey halted by Macedonian taxi drivers who have blocked the railway line and Greek farmers staging a tractor protest. Taxi drivers on the Macedonian side of the border blocked a railway line protesting over the fact that police give priority to trains and buses to take the migrants north to Serbia en route to western Europe rather than let make a profit. On the Greek side, farmers intermittently blocked the border crossing with tractors, part of a protest over a planned pension reform by the Greek government to satisfy international creditors. The border was effectively closed for migrants but regular car traffic had been flowing with minor disruption before hundreds of migrants, losing patience, disembarked from their stationary buses and blocked the road. More than 62,000 people arrived in Greece last month by boat and dinghy from Turkey braving winter weather and rough seas, according to the International Organisation for Migration and over 360 died in seas off Greece, Turkey and Italy during the month. In the latest fatal crossing, nine people, including two babies, were found drowned off the coast of western Turkey on Tuesday. Temperatures in the Balkans, having dropped below freezing in January, were back up into the teens this week, easing the journey for a growing proportion of women and children.