Migrants Walking from Serbia Try to Enter Croatia

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Serbian authorities prevented them from crossing the state border.

The group of migrants which on Friday started walking from the Serbian capital Belgrade towards Croatia, arrived on Sunday in Šid, near the border, and tried to enter Croatia at Tovarnik. They were prevented in their attempt by Serbian authorities, reports Index.hr on November 13, 2016.

According to the spokesman of Vukovar-Srijem Police Department Domagoj Džigumović, Croatian police had not closed the border crossing at Tovarnik. Unofficial sources claim that during the day the Serbian police closed its border at Šid.

Nenad Ivanišević, State Secretary in Serbia’s Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, confirmed that the group of migrants from Afghanistan and Pakistan was under permanent police escort and had arrived near Šid. In addition to the police, the migrants are accompanied by representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the Serbia’s Commission for Refugees and Migrants. They have been offered to return to reception centres.

“This is yet another futile attempt of people in despair to draw attention to themselves and force the European Union to open the borders. All previous attempts were unsuccessful. I expect them to quickly return to Belgrade or go to reception centres”, said Ivanišević.

In Serbian reception centres for refugees and migrants there are about 6,000 people, while about 1,000 people are not in shelters and they fear that they will not be able to continue their voyage towards the European Union, said Ivanišević. He added that he expected “Serbia to be a part of the agreement of the European Union about the return of migrants, according to which any person who is not eligible for asylum would enter the return procedure”.

The group of migrants which have been walking since Friday afternoon on the motorway towards Croatian border consists mostly of men and a few women and children. They are carrying banners with messages “Please, open the border”, “Stop the war”, and “No more war”.

On Saturday, they said to Serbian media that they intended to continue their journey to Italy and France, not Germany, and that they would wait at the border with Croatia until it is opened. In the meantime, due to fatigue and exhaustion, several of them gave up and returned to Belgrade.

Croatian Interior Minister Vlaho Orepić visited on Sunday afternoon the border at Tovarnik and reported that the situation was stable and there was no indication of problems with migrants. He said there is not a single reason why someone would illegally cross into Croatia, adding that Croatian police would fully protect Croatian border from illegal crossings. He praised police officers who supervise and protect the state border. “I have again seen that Croatia is a safe country, in a friendly and humane manner”, said Orepić. Asked what would happen with the group of migrants, Orepić said they would be accommodated at a reception centre in Šid, and that, if they were to try to enter Croatia, the police would prevent them.


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