Migrants walk towards Slovenian police after crossing from Croatia, in Brezice, Slovenia Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. Croatia’s interior minister has rejected Slovenia’s accusations that Croatia broke an agreement on limiting the numbers crossing their border to 2,500 a day, saying the Slovenes have kept changing the figure.
(AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
TRNOVEC, Croatia (AP) — The latest news as migrants fleeing war or seeking a better life make their way across Europe by the tens of thousands. All times local.
A photographer working for Agence France-Presse says he has been assaulted by Croatian border police who also grabbed his cameras and threw them into the mud.
Andrej Isakovic said Monday that the incident happened while he was covering the migrant backlog at the Serbian-Croatian border.
Isakovic said two Croatian policemen first demanded the camera’s memory cards. When he refused “they stormed at me, pulled me down to the ground, grabbed both of my cameras and threw them in the mud.”
Isakovic says he wasn’t on Croatian territory during the incident, and called the action “totally unprovoked.” He said another freelance photographer was also assaulted.
Croatian police said in a statement that the two crossed illegally into Croatia with the migrants. They say policemen issued warnings and sent them back with their equipment.
An Austrian state prosecutor says a suspect has been detained in connection with spraying a migrant with an irritant.
Erich Habitzl identified the suspect Monday as a 34-year old Danish male but declined to provide his name in keeping with Austrian privacy laws.
He is suspected of attacking a migrant last week at a train station south of Vienna with pepper spray or an irritant gas.
Habitzl says authorities have requested court approval to place the man in investigative custody. He says the suspect is refusing to cooperate with legal officials.
A volunteer worker also was sprayed while trying to protect the migrant.
The Czech Republic is dispatching 50 police officers to Hungary to help contain the influx of migrants in Europe’s visa-free Schengen zone.
The Interior Ministry said Monday’s decision comes at the Hungarian request. The officers will be deployed alongside their Hungarian colleagues on the border with Serbia by the end of October and should stay until Dec. 15.
The Czechs already sent 20 soldiers to Hungary last week and said they were ready to deploy up to 100 if needed.
Poland and Slovakia also are contributing officers to help Hungary contain the influx of refugees.
The four EU countries form an informal group within the EU also known as the Visegrad Group.
A train carrying about 1,300 migrants in Croatia has reached the Slovenian border, hours after another train was stopped and its passengers were stranded on the boundary for hours overnight.
The migrants from the second train walked on Monday across a bridge over the Sutla river that divides the two countries as they lined up to be registered by Slovenian officials. There were no incidents.
The earlier train carrying around 1,800 people arrived in early Monday. Croatian police let the migrants get off the train, but Slovenian police were deployed to the border and put up barriers to prevent a mass entry.
For hours, migrants sought ways to sneak into Slovenia, before Slovenians eventually let them all into the country.
Slovenia, which says it can handle 2,500 people a day, has denounced Croatia for sending larger groups into the tiny Alpine country.
A U.N. refugee agency official says Croatia has opened its border with Serbia for migrants, letting in thousands who have been stranded for nearly two days.
UNHCR spokeswoman Melita Sunjic, who is on the border, said Monday that “without any announcement, the borders opened. When the borders opened, everybody rushed” over.
Sunjic said “the last person to go was a young boy without a leg, and we helped him cross in a wheelchair.”
There were between 2,000 and 3,000 migrants stuck on the border in mud and rain when the gates were opened.
Turkey’s prime minister has said he won’t allow his country to be treated as a “concentration camp” for refugees but is willing to work with EU countries to stem the illegal flow of migrants.