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Stranded Refugees Evacuated from Greek Border Camp

Refugees and migrants living in a squalid, makeshift in Idomeni, Greece, are being evacuated to state-run centers.

Riot police stand in front of tents during an operation to relocate refugees and migrants at the camp in Idomeni, Greece, near the border with Macedonia, on May 24, 2016. 

Greece sent in police and bulldozers on Tuesday to knock down tents and relocate hundreds of migrants who had been stranded for months at the camp.

Several busloads of people, most of them families with children, left the sprawling expanse of tents at Idomeni to move to state-run centers further south. 

YANNIS KOLESIDIS / EPA

Family members carry their belonging as they leave the camp. By the latest count, at least 8,000 people were camped at Idomeni in difficult, overcrowded conditions with poor sanitation, ignoring previous calls by the government to leave.

YANNIS KOLESIDIS / EPA

People board a bus to leave the camp on May 24. 

As many as 12,000, mainly Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis, were stuck at the camp at one point after Balkan countries shut their borders in February, barring them from crossing to central and northern Europe.

SAKIS MITROLIDIS / AFP - Getty Images

A group of men run through a field to avoid being transferred to government camps. The government has been trying for months to persuade people to leave Idomeni and go to organized camps. This week it said its campaign of voluntary evacuations was already working, with police reporting that eight buses carrying about 400 people left Idomeni Sunday but a few at the camp still did not seem to welcome the news and decided to find alternate routes.

ALEXANDROS AVRAMIDIS / Reuters

A migrant boy carries his belongings. 

YANNIS KOLESIDIS / AFP - Getty Images

Police look on as a boy carries his belongings. An estimated 700 police were participating in the operation, but there were no reports of violence or protests.

Yannis Kolesidis / AP

A bus carries migrant families . By late afternoon, 32 buses carrying a total of 1,529 people had left Idomeni on the country's border with Macedonia.

Giannis Papanikos / AP

Family members sit in front of their tent as they waiting to be transferred

Human rights groups had raised alarm about the deteriorating conditions at Idomeni, where children slept in the open, scuffles broke out over food, and Macedonia forces tear-gassed migrants who tried to storm past the razor-wire fence.

YANNIS KOLESIDIS / EPA

A migrant boy on a wheelchair passes in front of police. In Idomeni, most have been living in small camping tents pitched in fields and along railroad tracks, while aid agencies have set up large marquee-style tents to help house people. Greek authorities have sent in cleaning crews regularly and have provided portable toilets, but conditions have been precarious at best, with heavy rain creating muddy ponds.

YANNIS KOLESIDIS / EPA

A woman looks out a bus window as she leaves the camp.

SAKIS MITROLIDIS / AFP - Getty Images

Buses are lined up at the camp in a view from the Macedonian side of the border.

ROBERT ATANASOVSKI / AFP - Getty Images

Refugees and migrants wave goodbye as they are transferred on a bus to government camps. 

ALKIS KONSTANTINIDIS / Reuters

Clowns from a solidarity group wave to migrants on a bus as they are evacuated from the makeshift camp. 

SAKIS MITROLIDIS / AFP - Getty Images

A bulldozer knocks down the tents of migrants and refugees who were relocated. 

Greece was the main entry point for more than a million migrants who made it to Europe last year, mostly after perilous sea crossings.

YANNIS KOLESIDIS / POOL / EPA