Hundreds of refugees started returning to Idomeni on foot after a rumor that the Greece-FYROM border would reopen on Sunday.
There was unrest yesterday at the refuge tent city on the Greece-Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia crossing point when a rumor circulated that the border would open at noon on Sunday.
More police forces arrived on Saturday evening at Idomeni as caravans of refugees on foot were seen moving towards the makeshift migrant camp. The refugees returned to the area in the hope that the rumor would be true.
Police suspect certain non-government organizations that two weeks ago had distributed leaflets urging refugees to enter FYROM through unguarded points across the border. Authorities believe that the same people are the ones who started the rumor about the opening of the border.
This comes at a time when the Greek government is making the effort to remove refugees from Idomeni and distribute them to migrant hospitality centers across the country.
The refugee crisis coordinating committee spokesperson Giorgos Kyritsis said that the government is putting a major effort in convincing refugees that Greece’s northern border will remain shut permanently. At the same time he denounced organizations that create false hopes for the refugees.
Speaking on Mega television, Kyritsis speculated that by Sunday afternoon refugees would be convinced that the rumor was not true and they would leave Idomeni. He admitted though that Greek authorities cannot control or monitor the activities of NGOs operating at the Idomeni – FYROM border because the camp is not an official refugee accommodation structure.
However, early Sunday morning hundreds of refugees had gathered at the Idomeni railways and were determined to cross the border.
“We heard that today they will open the border and we came here to cross them. We were told that the Red Cross and 500 journalists from around the world will be with us,” a Syrian man told the Athens Macedonia News Agency.
Greek authorities made announcements through loudspeakers in Arabic and Farsi warning that the border will not open and that their lives are at risk if they attempt to cross illegally.
According to the latest figures, as of Saturday, there are a total of 50,236 migrants and refugees accommodated in Greece.
In greater detail 28,507 migrants and refugees are currently in Northern Greece, where there has been resistance from residents in certain areas. In Attica there are 13,981, with 5,100 having set up camp in Piraeus.
The latest figures also show that there are 2,602 refugees on the island of Lesvos, while in Central Greece there are 2,941, with Larissa holding 1,396.
Syrian woman gives birth at Idomeni refugee camp
A 24-year-old Syrian woman has given birth to a girl at the sprawling Greek migrant encampment in Idomeni, near the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The birth, in a tent lying on the railway tracks, was assisted by volunteers from the aid group Doctors of the World. The woman has two other children.
Greek authorities arrest six people counterfeiting passports
Greek police arrested six people on Saturday in an operation to break up a gang of forgers who were counterfeiting identification documents and passports. According to the Hellenic Coast Guard, the gang was operating on the island of Kos, one of the islands where refugees land from nearby Turkey.
The authorities seized computers, cameras and a large number of fake documents and mobile phones from several houses on the island.