Hundreds of Migrants Marching Toward Hungary to Protest Border Closure
BUCHAREST – Hundreds of migrants set off on foot on Tuesday toward Serbia’s border with Hungary to protest its closure for most people trying to reach the European Union.
There are more than 6,000 migrants stuck in Serbia after Hungary this summer introduced strict limits to their crossing into the EU-member country and reinforced its razor-wire fence with heavy border patrols.
The so-called Balkan migrant route, last year used by nearly 1 million people fleeing wars and poverty, formally closed in March, forcing migrants to use alternative routes and pay people smugglers to get them across.
Several hundred migrants have staged a protest in Belgrade demanding that Hungary open its border.
Police intervened on Tuesday after protesters clashed with other groups of migrants who were against the demonstration. Some 150 of them later marched toward the Hungarian border about 200 kilometers (120 miles) north of the Serbian capital.
They chanted “Open Hungary Borders” and carried banners saying “we don’t need food, water or nothing, we want you to open the borders.” There were no reported injuries during the scuffles.
There are some 6,000 migrants stuck in Serbia after Hungary this summer introduced strict limits to their crossing into the EU-member country and reinforced its razor-wire fence with heavy border patrols. The so-called Balkan migrant route formally closed in March, forcing migrants to use alternative routes.
Romanian border police are investigating 16 Iraqi citizens, including six children, they found in two boats on the River Danube for illegally crossing the Romanian border.
Border police said they spotted the group of eight men, two women and six children, early Tuesday in southern Romania close to the shore. The Danube forms the border between Romania and Bulgaria.
The migrants told police they had traveled through Turkey and then into Bulgaria and wanted to reach Germany. They said each family had paid 35,000 euros ($39,000).
Romania and Bulgarian authorities are investigating. They will be handed over to Bulgarian authorities under the terms of a Romanian-Bulgarian agreement.
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