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refugee crisis

Chaos as Hungarian police fire tear gas and water cannon at migrants

Tensions had been building for several hours after refugees were left at the fence without food, water or information.

Updated at 10.21pm

s1 Sky News / screengrab Sky News / screengrab / screengrab

DOZENS OF MIGRANTS braved tear gas, riot police and water cannon to briefly break through Serbia’s border with Hungary earlier in several hours of clashes at the flashpoint Roszke crossing, AFP correspondents said.

The disturbances began mid-afternoon after several hundred migrants frustrated at Hungary’s closure of its frontier this week — previously a major entry point into the EU — began shouting slogans.

The situation escalated and clashes raged for over four hours, with black-helmeted riot police firing tear gas and water cannon as migrants threw stones, sticks and plastic bottles.

s2Missiles are thrown back at Hungarian police lines. Source: Sky News screengrab

 

Fourteen police were injured, authorities said. Sky News reports that at least two people were seriously injured in the protest, with more than 300 seeking treatment.

The Hungarian authorities even brought up several "Humvee" military vehicles mounted with guns and stationed them 100-200 metres back from the border.

Several dozen of the migrants managed to pull down wire meshing across two access routes to Hungarian territory, with police in body armour retreating some 50 metres then firing more tear gas.

s3 Sky News screengrab Sky News screengrab

An AFP reporter on the Serbian side said around 300 out of a group of 500 took part in the protest.

Children were crying from the effects of the tear gas, which causes respiratory problems as well as eye irritation.

There were also helicopters flying overhead.

The incident came after Hungary this week sealed its southern border with Serbia, cutting off one of the biggest entry points for migrants into the European Union this year.

Tweet by @Christian Fraser Christian Fraser / Twitter Christian Fraser / Twitter / Twitter

Rocks and bricks thrown

A Sky News reporter at the scene said tensions had been building for several hours after refugees were left at the fence without food, water or information.

Violence broke out at around 3pm. Police deployed their tear gas and water cannon - and migrants threw back rocks and bricks.

A pregnant woman was stretchered away, the broadcaster said. Crowds of migrants have been fleeing the scene.

Tweet by @BBC Breaking News BBC Breaking News / Twitter BBC Breaking News / Twitter / Twitter

Tweet by @James Reynolds James Reynolds / Twitter James Reynolds / Twitter / Twitter

Croatia

Meanwhile Croatian prime minister  Zoran Milanovic has said his country will allow free passage of migrants across its territory, as a first group entered the EU member state from Serbia today.

"They will be able to cross Croatia and we have been working intensively on that," Milanovic told lawmakers during a regular parliament session.

"We are ready to accept and direct those people... to where they apparently wish to go," he said, citing Germany and Scandinavia.

He also said the migrants' "religion and skin colour is completely irrelevant".

Hungary Migrants A Hungarian police officer, left, questions Iraqi refugees while being detained on a roadside in Roszke, southern Hungary. Muhammed Muheisen Muhammed Muheisen

Some 370 Middle Eastern refugees crossed into Croatia from Serbia - its neighbour to the east - earlier today, according to the interior ministry.

"These people are here... They do not want to come to Croatia or Hungary either and that is why I do not understand where is the problem of letting them pass through that country," he said, strongly criticising Hungary, which borders Croatia to the north-east.

With reporting from AFP.

Read: Google is doing its bit to help ease the migrant crisis today

Read: ‘The street is a cold place’ Enda Kenny gives coffee to man protesting outside Dáil

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