Migrant electrocuted on Greek-Macedonia border after clashes
A migrant died of electrocution Thursday after clashes broke out between refugees and migrants trapped on the Greek-Macedonian border, Greek police said.
The man, believed to be from Morocco, died after climbing on to a carriage of a stationary train near the border and touching a high-tension cable overhead, local police spokesman Petros Tanos told AFP.
Holding his body, a group of Moroccan men then advanced towards the border crossing with cries of “Allahu akbar” (“God is greatest”).
Greek police fired tear gas to push them back.
Another Moroccan had been badly burned in a similar incident on Saturday.
With Macedonian authorities only permitting passage to refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, other migrants have been sleeping inside railway carriages.
Train connections between Greece and Macedonia have been blocked for days by a protest by Iranian migrants occupying the railway tracks.
Earlier Thursday clashes broke out between refugees, those allowed to cross the border, and the blocked migrants, each group throwing stones at the other.
Violence had also broken out over the weekend as Macedonian crews raced to complete a three-kilometre (1.8-mile) fence on the frontier.
On Saturday, a group of migrants trying to enter Macedonia pelted the police with stones while officers fired stun grenades in their direction.
Several Macedonian police and army vehicles were damaged and 18 police officers slightly injured in the protests.
The International Organization for Migration estimated in late November that nearly 860,000 migrants had landed in Europe so far this year, with over 3,500 dying while crossing the Mediterranean in search of safety.
Since the summer, central and southeastern European countries have been tightening their borders to check the influx — a trend that has been accelerated by the November 13 shooting and suicide attacks in Paris.
Two of the attackers slipped into Europe through Greece posing as refugees from Syria’s civil war, according to French prosecutors.
Since then, countries along the migrant route through the Balkans have tightened restrictions on migrants, allowing entry only to those fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.