HUNGARY has dramatically escalated its anti-refugee border controls, firing upon asylum-seekers with tear gas and water cannon and bringing in more personnel with armoured vehicles.
Since the start of the crisis the Croatian authorities have urged solidarity with migrants, recalling its own role in accommodating hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people during the 1990s Balkans wars.
Hundreds of people were trapped Tuesday behind the barrier erected by Hungary along its border with Serbia in an attempt to halt the migrant tide.
The UNHCR said in a statement it “was especially shocked and saddened to witness Syrian refugees, including families with children who have already suffered so much, being prevented [by Hungary] from entering the European Union with water cannon and tear gas”.
Majority were women and children along with a few middle-aged and younger men.
Croatia’s foreign affairs minister Vesna Pusić warned Wednesday that the country is not equipped to handle a huge wave of refugees.
Hungary is now building another fence along its border with Croatia.
It is unacceptable that Croatia is treated as a country which has to abide by worldwide agreements, while neighbouring countries through which migrants are passing en route to western Europe, do not have to, Ostojic said in the border town of Tovarnik.
The influx, which Croatia says it will not halt, puts tiny Slovenia next in line to receive the thousands of migrants, many of them refugees from the Middle East, trying to reach Austria then Germany and other more prosperous countries of northern and western Europe.
Migrants and refugees wanted to enter Hungary because it is an European Union country which gives them certain rights.
“We fled wars and violence and did not expect such brutality and inhumane treatment in Europe“.
Police claim they only deployed tear gas after a group broke through a razor wire fence.
Serbia later said it would send additional police to the border with Hungary and try to distance migrants from the border fence, and three Hungarian military Humvees mounted with guns stepped up security on the other side of the frontier.
“There is an onus on all of us to play our part because the majority of European citizens are generous people who feel very much for the refugees”.
Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said: “We are ready to accept and direct those people…to where they apparently wish to go”.