Thursday 19 January 2017

Refugees stranded in Serbia after Hungary close border now walking to Croatia

* Migrants blocked from entering Hungary
* Buses from southern Serbia rerouted to Croatian border
* Croatia a member of EU but not border-free Schengen zone

Branko Filipovic

Published 16/09/2015 | 07:42

Migrants rest on a highway in front of a barrier at the border with Hungary near the village of Horgos, Serbia, September 15, 2015. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
Migrants rest on a highway in front of a barrier at the border with Hungary near the village of Horgos, Serbia, September 15, 2015. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
Three month old baby Parwan from Afghanistan sleeps on a cot at the temporary registration center of the southern German border town Passau, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Migrants arrive at the train station of the southern German border town Passau, Germany, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015, after they have been taken off a train by German federal police for registration. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
A boy sits on a toy car and plays with stuffed animals as he waits with other refugees for registration at the temporary registration center of the southern German border town Passau, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
A migrant shouts slogans in front of a barrier at the border with Hungary near the village of Horgos, Serbia, September 15, 2015. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
Refugees queue up for a bus, as they arrive at the border between Austria and Hungary, Heiligenkreuz, Austria, late Tuesday Sept. 15, 2015. Austria's Interior Ministry says temporary border controls with Hungary will be in effect immediately after midnight Tuesday. (AP Photo/Christian Bruna)
Migrants sleep on a highway in front of a barrier at the border with Hungary near the village of Horgos, Serbia, September 15, 2015. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
A migrant plays with his child in front of a barrier at the border with Hungary near the village of Horgos, Serbia, September 15, 2015. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
A migrant plays with his child in front of a barrier at the border with Hungary near the village of Horgos, Serbia, September 15, 2015. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

Croatia found itself dragged into Europe's migrant crisis on Wednesday as dozens walked through fields across Serbia's border with its western neighbour, rerouted by bus after Hungary locked down its own frontier with Serbia.

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A Reuters cameraman saw at least 100 migrants walk through cornfields into European Union member Croatia, most having arrived by bus from Serbia's southern border with Macedonia to the western town of Sid on the Croatian border. Others pulled up in taxis. Some identified themselves as Iraqis.

Migrants hold onto a barrier at the border with Hungary near the village of Horgos, Serbia, September 15, 2015. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
Migrants hold onto a barrier at the border with Hungary near the village of Horgos, Serbia, September 15, 2015. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

Serbian media reported that at least 10 migrant buses had left for Sid from the southern Serbian town of Presevo, where several thousand enter every day from Macedonia, streaming north across the Balkan peninsula.

A journalist on the Croatian side of the border said a first group of migrants had been rounded up by Croatian police and taken away to be registered.

The buses would normally run to Serbia's border with EU member Hungary, but Hungary's right-wing government on Tuesday launched a crackdown that effectively sealed the frontier to migrants with a metal fence and strict new rules that saw asylum seekers rejected within a matter of hours.

Many may now hope to enter EU member Croatia and then Slovenia, which is part of Europe's Schengen zone of border-free travel, and beyond to Austria and Germany.

Refugees queue up for a bus, as they arrive at the border between Austria and Hungary, Heiligenkreuz, Austria, late Tuesday Sept. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Christian Bruna)
Refugees queue up for a bus, as they arrive at the border between Austria and Hungary, Heiligenkreuz, Austria, late Tuesday Sept. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Christian Bruna)

Alert to the possibility, Croatian Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic said on Tuesday that Zagreb had prepared an "emergency plan in the case of an influx of thousands of refugees", but did not give details.

"The government will quickly activate that emergency plan if need be," Ostojic said.

Refugees queue up for a bus, as they arrive at the border between Austria and Hungary, Heiligenkreuz, Austria, late Tuesday Sept. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Christian Bruna)
Refugees queue up for a bus, as they arrive at the border between Austria and Hungary, Heiligenkreuz, Austria, late Tuesday Sept. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Christian Bruna)

Reuters

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