In August 2020, a 23-year-old man from Pakistan was caught by two Macedonian policemen near Prdejtsi, North Macedonia, together with his 3 friends of similar age. They were waiting for a train after they had crossed the border from Greece and walked for 4 hours. This was the third time they were illegally pushed back from N. Macedonia to Greece within a week. In this case (the third time), the two N. Macedonian officers forcefully struck the group several times before ushering them into a blue van without windows, in which there were already other people, all together between 15 and 16 people. Then they drove them in this vehicle back to the border between Gevgelija (N.Macedonia) and Idomeni (Greece), where they beat them again, using police batons.
At the border, there were also officers in brown color uniforms, speaking foreign languages. The marks of their uniforms might have been from Czechia and other countries, according to the respondent’s observations. Reportedly, the officers speaking in foreign languages were watching silently while the blue-uniformed Macedonian police was brutally beating the people and spraying them with a chemical agent, perhaps pepper spray, which burnt the group-members eyes and skin.
During this time, the respondent received a blow to the back of his head and was still in pain at the time of the interview. He described that during this time, a foreign “soldier,” perhaps German, brought 3-4 bottles of water to a person who was on the ground in pain due to the burning in his eyes, in order to wash his face. Around this time, the authorities opened a gate straddling the border between Greece and N. Macedonia and forced the group through towards the Greek side. After this, the group-members returned to Thessaloniki.