Refugees cross unhindered into FYROM; trains, buses await

Reuters — Hundreds of migrants crossed unhindered from Greece into Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on Sunday after overwhelmed security forces appeared to abandon a bid to stem their flow through the Balkans to western Europe following days of chaos and confrontation.

Riot police remained, but did little to slow the passage of a steady stream of migrants, many of them refugees from the Syrian war and other conflicts in the Middle East, a Reuters reporter at the scene said.

FYROM had declared a state of emergency on Thursday and sealed its southern frontier to migrants pouring in at a rate of 2,000 per day en route to Serbia then Hungary and the Europe Union’s borderless Schengen zone.

That led to desperate scenes at the border, as men, women and children slept under open skies with little access to food or water.

Saying they would ration access, riot police used tear gas and stun grenades to drive back crowds, but were overwhelmed on Saturday by several thousand who tore through police lines or ran through nearby empty fields.

The state eventually laid on extra trains, and buses arrived from across the country to take the migrants swiftly north to Serbia and the next step of a long journey from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.