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He said: I was crying and I can’t breath.

Date & Time 2020-08-21
Location on the North Macedonian - Greek border close to Gevgelija
Reported by Anonymous Partner
Coordinates 41.12986907, 22.53555516
Pushback from North Macedonia
Pushback to Greece
Taken to a police station no
Minors involved yes
WLTI* involved no
Men involved yes
Age 16 - 24
Group size 4
Countries of origin Morocco, Algeria
Treatment at police station or other place of detention
Overall number of policemen and policewomen involved 4
Violence used beating (with batons/hands/other), pepper spray
Police involved 4 North Macedonian policemen

On the evening of the 21st of August, a small group of persons from Algeria and Morocco (aged 16-24) entered into North Macedonia on foot from Greece near the border city of Idomenia. The group entered into the country with the intention of continuing on their journey towards Serbia. Only a short time after crossing the border however, around a kilometer, the group was approached and apprehended by four male North Macedonian police officers. The respondent described that it was around 2:00 am when they were first apprehended.

According to the respondent, the officers were physically violent towards him and his fellow group-members. Reportedly, the officers sprayed all of them in the eyes with a chemical agent, likely pepper spray, and struck them once with batons. After this initial exchange, the authorities did not ask any administrative or personal information from the group-members, and instead began an immediate and informal push-back of the group.

Under the threat of force, the officers led the group for around ten minutes back towards the border from which they had came from. When the reached the border, the officers ordered the group to walk back into Greece, which they did without further incident.

After returning over to the Greek side of the border, the group collected themselves before deciding to return to the Greek city of Thessaloniki.