Some of the migrants had spent days in the open with little or no food or water after Macedonia declared a state of emergency Thursday and sealed its borders to them, many refugees from war in Syria and other conflicts in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, Serbian state broadcaster RTS reported that another group of about 2,000 migrants has crossed the border from Macedonia near Miratovac village and is heading to Presevo by bus and on foot.
A photographer at the scene said people, with many children and pregnant women among them, were visibly exhausted and many asked for medical aid.
On Saturday, Macedonian authorities chose to let a small group with young children cross the frontier, the Associated Press reported, but in the pushing and confusion, thousands of people ran across a field without barbed wire.
Frustration and desperation had boiled over on Saturday, when thousands stormed through the police line to cross the border, despite police throwing grenades and using batons, before giving up and letting the people through. More than 160,000 have arrived so far in Greece, mostly crossing in inflatable dinghies from the nearby Turkish coast – an influx that has overwhelmed Greek authorities and the country’s small Aegean islands.
It was the second day of clashes between Macedonian police and the migrants, who mostly want to pass through Macedonia to wealthier northern European countries such as Germany and Sweden.
The mass movement came after Macedonia police on Saturday reopened the country’s southern frontier, enabling thousands to travel north towards Serbia from which they seek to enter the European Union (EU).
“We urge the (Macedonian) government to start opening the border again and prioritising the most vulnerable, such as women, children and sick people”, Alexandra Krause, a senior protection officer with the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, said earlier on Saturday.
Police fired stun grenades but did not manage to stop the rush.
Europe is now facing what the EU has called the worst refugee crisis since World War Two.
This is while Macedonian army soldiers were deployed throughout the wooded area that lines the 50-kilometer border, the report added citing army spokesman colonel Mirce Gjorgoski, who did not offer further details.
The refugees see both Macedonia and Serbia only as transit routes to Western Europe, which is why Macedonia earlier relaxed controls on migrants, allowing them 72 hours to cross the country unhindered. At the least 10 individuals have been injured within the melee.
The refugees hope that by taking trains through Serbia, they will make it to Hungary and other EU member states.
Some migrants were allowed across the border late Friday but many others were forced to wait in a cold, heavy rain, Nawras said.