For a second day, they came. And, for a second day, they faced a wall of riot shields, razor wire and batons. But on Saturday something was different. As the Macedonian police waved a handful of exhausted refugees through from Greece, something snapped and hundreds rushed the lines, causing chaos and police retaliation in the form of volleys of stun grenades and beatings. Many were injured.


On the night of 27 May 2010, a 17-year-old exotic nightclub dancer, nome d’arte Ruby the Heart Stealer, left police custody in Milan after the then prime minister Silvio Berlusconi had called surprised officials to say that Ruby, née Karima El Mahroug, should be released because she was none other than the granddaughter of the Egyptian president. “If she’s the granddaughter of Mubarak, then I’m Queen Nefertiti,” scoffed Milan’s juvenile-crime magistrate Annamaria Fiorillo. But before she was able to take charge, the belly-dancing runaway, held for suspected theft, was released into the care of one of the premier’s associates. The magistrate’s interest was understandably piqued and the probe that became the Rubygate affair began.