IZACIC, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Hundreds of migrants sought to be allowed to cross from Bosnia into Croatia on Tuesday after dozens spent the night in the open near the border between the two countries.
Bosnian police stopped some 300-400 migrants who gathered only several hundred meters from the Croatian border near the town of Velika Kladusa. The migrants blocked the road and police said the situation was tense.
Earlier on Tuesday, a separate group of several dozen migrants, including children, were bused away from another border crossing where they had camped overnight.
Police there also stopped the migrants from advancing toward the border and children could be heard shouting “Croatia, Croatia.”
The migrants want to enter Croatia, a European Union member, and continue west on to other EU countries.
Croatian police said in a statement they would not allow illegal entry to the country. They warned of false rumors being spread that Croatia’s borders would be opened to allow people to enter freely.
“Our situation is very bad, so we came here because of our situation and maybe they have to understand what we are going through,” Ezent Laue, who said he was from Syria, pleaded.
The migrants walked some 15 kilometers (9 miles) Monday from the asylum center to draw attention to borders remaining closed to people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa or Asia.
They set up small tents, put out blankets and slept rough by the road as cars and trucks passed by.
Parents wrapped children in warm clothes and blankets to protect them from the autumn chill. Sympathetic locals offered food, beverages and blankets.
Several thousand migrants are staying in war-ravaged Bosnia unable to continue their westward journey. Migrants have turned to Bosnia to avoid more heavily guarded routes in the Balkans.
Hundreds of thousands passed through the region before countries stepped up border controls in 2016.