Hundreds of migrants force their way over Macedonian border

GEVGELIJA, Macedonia - Hundreds of mostly Syrian refugees forced their way over the Macedonian border Saturday as police hurled stun grenades in a failed bid to stop them from breaking through, an AFP reporter said.

The people scrambled over the barbed wire fence on the border between Greece and Macedonia despite the police action.

Some 2,000 refugees and migrants have been stuck in no-man's land between the two countries since Thursday, halting their bid to reach Western Europe.

Police subsequently seemed to regain control of the situation, stopping the flow of people after hurling a dozen stun grenades in some 30 minutes.

Some 1,500 migrants and refugees are estimated to have remained in no-man's land after the incident.

Those who managed to cross into Macedonia rushed to the town of Gevgelija and sought taxis or other transportation toward Serbia on their way to the European Union border.

Figures from the UNHCR show thousands of migrants, most of them from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, have been pouring into Greece on a weekly basis with the aim of travelling through Macedonia and Serbia to reach the European Union.

Some 42,000 people, including more than 7,000 children, entered Macedonia since mid-June, the government in Skopje said.

Macedonia on Thursday declared a state of emergency and sealed off the border for 24 hours.

But after clashes between police and migrants on Friday that left at least eight refugees slightly injured, Skopje decided to allow a limited number of refugees in to continue their journey.

Since late Friday Macedonian police was allowing groups of several dozen to cross and take a train to the north in a bid to reach western Europe.