Author: Amien Essif
A group of migrants was stopped by police as they attempted to cross from Serbia to Croatia on Monday. Migrants have become increasingly frustrated as Balkan borders remain closed.
Minor scuffles broke out as a group of about 100 migrants crossed police lines in an attempt to enter Croatia from Serbia on Monday. The migrants had set off on foot from the Serbian capital Belgrade three days earlier to protest the closing of borders between the Balkan countries.
The group, mostly made up of people seeking asylum from Afghanistan and Pakistan, was stopped by police as they tried to cross over a field between Serbia, a non-EU state, and Croatia, an EU member state. They had arrived at the border on Sunday after a 100 kilometer march (60 miles) from Belgrade, carrying banners reading “Please open the border” and “No fences, no prisons!”
“The camps are full, we sleep in parks, we cannot stand it any more,” one marcher told Reuters as they began their trek on Friday. Croatia’s Interior Minister Vlaho Orepic said the migrants would not be allowed to enter the country illegally.
Migrants organized a similar march to the Hungarian border a month ago but turned back to Belgrade before arriving.
The Balkan countries have been the preferred route for people leaving war-torn countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and hoping to apply for asylum in western European countries. Nearly 7,000 migrants and refugees have become stranded in Serbia after Croatia and Hungary effectively closed their borders to asylum-seekers last year. About 50,000 migrants and refugees are stranded in Greece, unable to continue north, but refusing to turn back.