UPDATE FROM IDOMENI BORDER Idomeni 29/3/16 Over the last several days there has been an ongoing refugee protest at the Idomeni camp. About 100 tents running the length of the railway lines have been blocking any Greek/Macedonian trains from passing. The railway is at the entrance to the original camp and people stand there everyday with banners and signs. There are intermittent hunger strikes within this group as people demand safe passage and freedom of movement rather than food.
Last night at around 9:00pm a police bus blocked the line opposite the protest camp, police began to surround the protest in what looked like preparations for an eviction. As police numbers increased and tensions rose, more people came to join and support the protest.
Around 9:30pm several volunteers attempting to view and record the situation in anticipation of possible police violence were arrested for questioning. they were quickly processed and released on site.
As two more riot police buses arrived and controlled entry to the camp, more protesters assembled as well as interested media.
By around 10:00pm there was a noisy crowd of about 300-400 people on the railway, making speaches and chanting “Open the borders!” and an Arabic solidarity chant meaning “One strong hand for all the people!”. Police eventually lowered their presence and a police bus left as people settled in for the night.
So far the refugee protest camp is still on the tracks and police presence has returned to normal.
At 1:00pm refugees camping outside a hotel near the border formed a protest blockade of the main Greek/Macedonian highway demanding the opening of the border.
about 50 people marched with banners in Arabic and English to the nearby highway and stopped traffic. Trucks were lined up and the road was blocked for about one hour in a symbolic protest. As traffic attempted to move past a man lay down in front of a truck. One bus of police with riot shields arrived and the crowd dispersed shortly after making some speaches. Traffic resumed.
A similar blockade was heçd yesterday and people said they would return tomorrow.
2:30pm. Police presence increasing around railway camp again.