As hundreds of refugees are still trapped at the border between Greece and Macedonia in the wake of increased and controversial anti-immigration rules in the wake of the Paris attacks, a group of Iranian refugees have resorted to extreme measures in protest.
A number of Iranian men have sewn their mouths shut in protest at the new limits on migration, while many more have joined a hunger strike to show their disgust with the new policies which are blocking entry for migrants from all countries apart from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to reports, the protests near the village of Idomeni have entered their fourth straight day, with hundreds of Iranians, Moroccans and Pakistanis sitting in front of border police and trying to block train lines between Greece and Macedonia.
Many of the men protesting have also written slogans on their chests in red paint, including “Freedom”, as well as messages pointing out that they can’t simply return to their countries of origin: “Shoot us, we never go back”.
As one man, a 34-year-old electrical engineer named Hamid, put it to Reuters: “I cannot go back. I will be hanged”. As one of many risking his life to flee religious persecution in the Middle East nation, he is simply looking for “any free country in the world” to take him in.
The increased security measures against immigration have been implemented after investigators claim two of the suicide bombers who carried out the Paris attacks reached France via Greece by posing as refugees, although neither man’s identity has yet been released and the rest of the named attackers were confirmed as French or Belgian.
A number of human rights groups have spoken out against the policy put in place by a number of European nations in the last week, warning that asylum should be granted on merit and not on the basis of nationality.
Speaking to the Independent, Rados Djurovic, director of the Belgrade-based Asylum Protection Centre, said:
To classify a whole nation as economic migrants is not a principle recognised in international law. We risk violating human rights and asylum law.