Hundreds of tents forming a vast makeshift camp, several thousand men, women and children crammed together, and increasingly violent attempts to force the barriers and rolls of barbed wire on the eastern border of the European Union (EU): Tension on the Polish-Belarusian border continued to grow throughout the day on Monday, November 8. Early in the afternoon, numerous videos uploaded revealed columns of several hundred people walking towards the Kuznica crossing point, a border village near the Belarusian town of Grodno.
Monday evening, the Polish authorities assured that between 3,000 and 4,000 people are currently in this border area, on the Belarusian side, and that fifteen thousand are still scattered across the country. These are mainly Iraqi Kurds and Syrians. Shears, shovels but also cut trees used as rams were used to force border barriers. The Polish guards, supported by the police and the army, used tear gas.
According to several accounts, Belarusian border guards opened fire in the air to force the migrants to advance. In some videos, masked and armed men are seen providing logistical assistance and providing tools to the refugees. As the border area on the Polish side has been declared a state of emergency, neither journalists nor non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are allowed to go there. The information comes mainly from videos recorded by the Polish or Belarusian authorities, or from the few activists who managed to get there.
10,000 soldiers in the area
The attempt to destabilize Lithuania and Poland, launched in mid-August by the regime of Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko with the opening of a vast migratory corridor to the EU from the Middle East, takes on a new dimension. Until then, attempts to cross the “green border”, through the thick and humid forests of Podlasie, have proved particularly difficult, due to violent pushbacks by Polish border guards. Now, as winter approaches, the migrants form large groups around a regular crossing point. The Polish authorities say they have proof that the transfer of these people was organized by the Belarusian authorities.
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Migration crisis: tension mounts on the border between Poland and Belarus