“the officers open the door and told them go”

  • Date and time: April 26, 2020 17:00
  • Location: Gevgelija, N. Macedonia
  • Coordinates: 41.12706860861404, 22.514246270338294
  • Push-back from: North Macedonia
  • Push-back to: Greece
  • Demographics: 10 person(s), age: 20-29 years old , from: Morocco, Algeria
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: no violence used
  • Police involved: At least four officers (total number unknown)
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: fingerprints taken, photos taken
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Wave - Thessaloniki

Original Report

After a push-back from Serbia to N. Macedonia taking place on 17th April 2020 (BVMN report), the respondent in question (aged 24 and from Algeria) spent one week in a forested area near the village of Lojane (MKD) with a transit group of five other men (from Morocco and Tunisia, aged between 20-28 years old). On approximately 24th April 2020, the respondent decided to travel to Skopje (MKD) with three other people from this larger group. Whilst in Skopje two officers wearing surgical masks approached the transit group and asked them “you are immigrant?”, to which they replied “yes”. The transit group then told the officers “we want to come back [to Greece]”.

The officers transported the transit group to a camp back in Lojane (MKD). At the camp, the transit group was given food, water and medical attention, having a doctor treat them for dog bites sustained in a previous incident. The officers also photographed the transit group and took their fingerprints.

After two days, on approximately 26th April 2020 at 17:00, the transit group, along with seven other people were placed in a blue van accompanied by two police officers and transported to the border region of Gevgelija (MKD) (exact location unknown). Here, the officers “open the door” and told them “go”, a description which refers to the opening of a gate in the border fence for them to be removed into Greek territory. The respondent described these officers as being “nice” as they had given the transit group cigarettes to smoke. After the push-back, the transit group got on a train to Thessaloniki (GRK) avoiding Greek authorities en route.