On Saturday the 11th of January 2020, three respondents attempted to cross the Greece-Macedonia border in a transit group of 64 persons. The three Moroccan men aged 22yrs, 27yrs and 29yrs old had been pushed back the previous day in a transit group of 107 people, including two women. This previous episode is recorded in a report from 10th January 2020 (read here).
The respondents went by train from Thessaloniki (GRK) to N. Macedonia where they were stopped by police. The respondents explain that the course of events were similar to the previous pusback the day before: the police caught them, beat them with batons all over their body and stole their money/possessions.
However, this time the police came with three muzzled dogs. The respondents explain that the police officers were wearing uniform with Czech flags sewn in and “POLIZI” written on them. The respondents were taken to a camp in Bogdanci, a town in Macedonia near to the border, where the officers took down their names and details.
The respondents asked for asylum, but the officers informed the respondents that there were no asylum options available and deportation was charged at a fee of 500 euros. There was a Syrian translator in this camp to assist with the conversation. Once the respondents returned across the N. Macedonia-Greek border, a Greek police car stopped them and took them from the border to the Greek town, Polykastro. The respondents were instructed to buy a bus ticket for 6six euros to get back to the Northern Greek city of Thessaloniki.