(Idomeni, Greece) – The makeshift camp on Greece’s northern border from Macedonia is now closed. With many of the migrants who were at this camp being taken to state run camps, a large number of people have decided to head away from Idomeni on foot in order to avoid them altogether. The camp at Idomeni has become a symbol of the plight of the refugees who have come from various countries, such as Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan in order to find a better life for themselves and for their families. Idomeni’s informal camp has long been a problem because the conditions were less than stellar.
Still, many refugees preferred living in tents in an informal setting than being taken to camps run by the state where many refugees fear they’ll be trapped. For most, the goal has always been to move away from Idomeni in search of a better life. Those who stayed behind and didn’t let themselves be taken to the state run camps feel that they have a better chance of moving on if they’re able to control their own actions. They feel that this won’t happen at the state run camps. Instead, some of the refugees are looking for their own way out of the camps. Some are even looking for smugglers, who will take them away from Greece and into other parts of Europe. Most of the people who have stayed behind have moved to nearby villages and have set up their tents in the hills in the surrounding area.
Police arrived at Idomeni early this week in order to clear the camp of all refugees. They also bulldozed the area to remove the tents and other debris. On Thursday, the removal efforts were complete and the camp, which at one point housed as many as 8000 people, was empty. A little over 2000 people have been bussed to state camps and the rest have decided to move away from Idomeni themselves. The Greek government hasn’t disclosed how many people have left Idomeni of their own accord and how many were forced. Public Order Minister Nikos Toskas has said that the effort to vacate the Idomeni camp and move refugees to the state run camps has been complete.