Citizen Protection Deputy Minister Nikos Toskas stated that FYROM police did not operate on Greek soil to thwart migrants during Sunday’s violent riot on the neutral zone between the two countries at Idomeni.
Speaking on Skai television on Monday morning, the deputy minister denied that Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia policemen went through the hole in the fence migrants had opened while trying to cross to Greece’s neighboring country.
On Sunday, about 500 migrants tried to enter FYROM by force, with police replying with the use of rubber bullets and tear gas. Doctors of the World say that they treated about 300 refugees with rubber bullet bruises and respiratory problems.
Toskas condemned the excessive violence FYROM police used. “Today’s beaten (refugees) will be tomorrow’s jihadists,” the deputy minister commented. His statement was criticized by opposition party MPs.
The deputy minister condemned the actions of non-government organizations and individual volunteers who urge refugees to cross the FYROM border illegally while at the same time send refugees the message not to leave Idomeni because the borders will open if they keep protesting. He said that Greek police are investigating the NGO actions.
Toskas said that refugees who have camped at Idomeni and Piraeus Port will be transferred to hospitality centers until the end of the month. It is estimated that about 12,000 refugees and migrants are currently at Idomeni and about 5,000 at Piraeus Port.
On Monday afternoon hundreds of migrants gathered at the Idomeni border crossing point to protest the FYROM police violence and ask for the borders to open.