Hungary police use tear gas, water cannon on asylum seekers at border crossing

Published September 16th, 2015 - 04:28 GMT

Migrants began entering Croatia on Wednesday, one day after Hungary sealed its border with Serbia -- leading to clashes between asylum-seekers and riot police.

A key crossing point in the Hungarian border town of Roszke was closed in the afternoon, prompting migrants to attempt to break through while repeatedly chanting "Open!"

Migrants began throwing plastic water bottles at police, to which police responded by firing back tear gas and by using a water cannon.

As Hungary sealed its border with Serbia on Tuesday, many migrants were attempting to enter the European Union by traveling toward Croatia, which is allowing safe passage.

More than 150 migrants have entered Croatia, with many more expected. Croatia is a European Union member, since 2013, that said it was prepared to receive or "direct' migrants to wherever they want to go.

Migrants were being registered by Croatian officials.

Croatia's Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic told Parliament that authorities were "entirely ready to receive or direct those people where they want to go, which is obviously Germany or Scandinavian countries."

"They will be able to pass through Croatia and we will help, we're getting ready for that possibility," he added.

On Tuesday, Hungary sealed its border with Serbia by completing a 110-mile razor-wire fence. People who cross the border illegally or damage the new fence will face criminal charges, punishable by imprisonment or deportation.

At least 367 migrants have been arrested since the new laws took effect, Hungarian police announced Wednesday. Many migrants are facing the tough decision of either waiting to be allowed entry into Hungary, where they face possible rejection, or travel potentially several hundred miles to Croatia or other European countries.

Meanwhile, migrants traveling through Croatia were being warned about landmines. Although the minefield areas are clearly marked, many are urging people to travel through more-secure roads and railways.

The migrant crisis has escalated throughout this year as people flee conflict and poverty mainly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Eritrea and Iraq.

More than 156,000 migrants crossed into the European Union in August, meaning more than 500,000 migrants have entered since the start of the year, EU border agency Frontex said.

By Andrew V. Pestano

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