The violent migrants screamed their demands then blocked on the Serbian side of the border and threw plastic water bottles and rocks at helmeted riot police and chanted demands that the border be re-opened. The police were forced to respond with with tear gas and water cannons to get control of the situation.
Hundreds of migrants later broke through a razor wire fence on the border with Serbia and Hungary today. Reuters reports that Serbia says it has been informed by Hungary that the Roszke-Horgos border crossing will be closed for the next 30 days, and that Hungarian humvees with mounted guns are moving towards the Serbia border to take control of the situation.
Hungarian authorities also said Wednesday that they have arrested a total of 519 migrants who tried to cross the border since tough new laws went into effect on Tuesday that make it a crime to cross from Serbia anywhere other than at legal checkpoints. Authorities launched 46 criminal prosecutions and found two Iraqi men guilty, the first convictions based on the new laws.
Two men were expelled from Hungary, with one banned from re-entering the country for one year, the other banned for two years. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has made it clear that he doesn’t intend for his country to be used by the migrants to cross further into Europe. He has previously commented upon the threat the migrants pose to Western civilisation
Televised images from a courthouse in Szeged earlier showed four Iraqi men who were charged with their hands tied in front of them and their shoelaces removed ahead of trial.
Syrian President Bashar Assad on Wednesday blamed Europe for the crisis, saying it’s a direct result of the West’s support for extremists in Syria over the past four years.
In an interview with Russian media, Assad accused Europe of supporting “terrorism” and providing “protection for terrorists, calling them moderates.”
“How can one be indignant about a drowned child and remain silent about the deaths of thousands of children, elderly people, women and men killed by terrorists in Syria?” Assad said.
Hungary’s apparent success in deflecting the flow of migrants through its territory sparked fears in
About 300 crossed into Tovarnik, Croatia, after they were bused to the Serbian border town of Sid on an all-night ride from Macedonia. Serbia responded to Hungary’s crackdown with a warning that it would not become the dumping ground or, as its foreign minister put it, “a collection centre” – for the refugees.
Croatia is not part of the Schengen free travel zone, and would have to pass through Slovenia if they will even allow allow them to pass.
Ranko Ostoji?, Croatia’s interior minister said Zagreb had prepared an emergency plan in the case of an influx of thousands of refugees. “The government will quickly activate that emergency plan if need be,” Ostoji? said.
Croatian de-mining experts have been sent to the border area where people are crossing, called in by police concerned at the threat posed by minefields which remain from Croatia’s 1991-95 war.
Meanwhile, Austria has introduced security checks along its border with Hungary, a measure it said could be extended to those with Slovenia, Italy and Slovakia if needed. Austria was looking to send “a clear signal” that the country cannot handle an uncontrolled mass arrival of refugees.
Slovenia’s interior minister, Vesna Gyorkos Znidar, has meanwhile said it will not create a “safe corridor” for refugees to pass through on their way to Germany and Scandinavia but will receive asylum requests.
A British Royal Navy frigate is to be sent to take part in a blockade-style naval operation aimed at “boarding, seizing and diverting” refugee boats in the Mediterranean, the Ministry of Defence has said.
The British warship HMS Richmond is to take part in a “more aggressive” phase two of a European Union naval operation operating off the coast of Libya aimed at ending the people-smuggling trade across the Mediterranean.