A refugee shelters his son among Macedonian riot police and other refugees during a clash near the border railway station in Idomeni, northern Greece Image Credit: AP

Duba: Social media users reacted with horror to images and videos of Macedonian border guards using batons against hapless refugees trying to cross the Greek-Macedonia border amid rain and cold weather

On Sunday, many shared videos and pictures of police in Macedonia using batons to hold back refugees in pouring rain trying to make their way north into Europe. Elderly women and men, crying children and tired parents bearing toddlers were among at least 7,000 people, attempting to get into Serbia. They had travelled through never-ending roads and muddy fields as they crossed over from Greece.

Many took to Twitter and Facebook to express outrage at the way refugees were being treated by the police.

Twitter user @thandojo shared a picture of police using batons and posted: “A police tries to maintain order while migrants wait for trains at a temporary camp near Gevgelija,#Macedonia”.

Twitter user @JamesKerLindsay wrote: “Absolutely shocking pictures of #Macedonia police brutality against soaking #refugees being broadcasted.”

User @DerryckGriffith was appalled at the situation and commented: “#Macedonia: The police are beating the migrants at this border with batons. This is wrong and inhumane.”

Twitter user @saulocorona shared a picture of refugees waiting at the border with the caption: “1000s of #refugees forced to wait in torrential rain at Greek-Macedonian border”. Meanwhile @Budapestgubbe wrote: “In #Greece and macedonia police beat up #migrants not a word. #Hungary is criticised because they distribute food in a wrong way to migrants.” The tweep compared the treatment the refugees had received in Hungary with that apparently meted out in Greece.

Tension on the border

Tension on the border between Greece and Macedonia has increased in the past few days due to the overwhelming number of refugees travelling to central Europe from the Middle East, crossing through Greece, Macedonia and Serbia. Macedonian police has been using tear gas and stun grenades while trying to stop the refugees crossing the border.

Macedonian twitter user @ptypk commented: “I’m shamed to be Macedonian. This madness, this ignorance.” Saying this was not an unusual happening, tweep @Newsistan wrote: “ ... I was a refugee in the same country back in 1999. They treated us just as bad as these poor people. May Allah help them!”

#RefugeesWelcome is a hashtag that has been adopted by social media users to highlight the plight of Syrian refugees. There has been an outcry on various social media channels with protests and vigils requesting countries around the world to accept more refugees and help solve the crisis.

According to the United Nations more than 4600 refugees had arrived in Macedonia over the last 17 hours. The Greek border police said the movement of people entering Macedonia was the largest single wave of refugees and migrants they had seen so far.