Greece Hopes to Persuade Migrants to Leave Border Camp

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -
A child runs on a foggy morning at the northern Greek border station of Idomeni, Friday, March 11, 2016. After nearly three days of rain, conditions in the refugee camp on the Greek-Macedonian where about 14,000 people are stranded have deteriorated significantly, with many of its residents struggling to re-pitch their small camping tents in slightly drier patches.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
A child runs on a foggy morning at the northern Greek border station of Idomeni, Friday, on the Greek-Macedonian border. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Authorities in Greece say they hope an overcrowded refugee camp on the Greek-Macedonian border can be emptied within two weeks, as people are slowly persuaded to move to nearby government-built shelters.

Nikos Toskas, a deputy minister for public order, ruled out using force to move the 14,000 people camped out at the border near the village of Idomeni in increasingly desperate conditions.

“We have to persuade them (to move) and we can’t do that using tear gas. Half the people there are women and children,” Toskas told private Mega channel Friday.

Authorities say about 800 people have agreed so far to leave the camp, but more arrive daily.

Macedonia closed its borders to all migrants and refugees this week after several Balkan countries and Austria began imposing restrictions in February.