Refugees break through police lines in Croatia

Crowds break through riot police lines at the Croatian and Serbian border, as the country is overwhelmed with arrivals

Crowds of refugees briefly broke through riot police lines at Croatia’s border with Serbia, the BBC reports.

It is reported that people waiting for hours in the sweltering heat at Tovarnik grew frustrated, though the situation is quieter now.

Croatia is one of the countries struggling to deal with refugee arrivals, and it has seen at least 7,300 arrivals since Wednesday morning after Hungary closed its border with Serbia, blocking the previously used route into the European Union.

Croatian officials say refugees must apply for asylum there or be treated as illegal immigrants, but authorities seem to be overwhelmed and surprised by the number of refugees - most of whom wish to travel on to other EU countries.

The BBC said that Tovarnik was in mayhem, after thousands who had crossed from Serbia were held back by riot police. The police were allegedly trying to get them to wait for transport from the border, and they eventually gave way under pressure.

Some of refugees said they intended to walk to Slovenia, but many are exhausted with supplies of food and water running low.

Hungarian media reported that dozens of refugees were crossing from Croatia into Hungary at Illocska - thus avoiding the fence on Hungary's border with Serbia.

Croatia said it would allow refugees to travel into northern Europe, but officials in Slovenia - which borders Croatia to the north - have said they would tighten their border security and stick to rules requiring asylum-seekers to register on arrival.

Slovenia, like Hungary, is an entry point to the Schengen zone, which normally allows people to travel between member countries without restrictions.

On Wednesday, hundreds were involved in clashes at the Hungary-Serbia border after Hungarian authorities used water cannons and tear gas to stop people forcing their way through.

Meanwhile, Germany, which temporarily suspended Schengen protocol at the Austrian border on Sunday, has extended border controls to the Czech Republic.

European Council President Donald Tusk announced on Thursday that European leaders would meet on 23 September, after the European Parliament voted to support plans for the mandatory relocation of 120,000 refugees around the EU, but interior ministers from EU countries have not so far been able to reach agreement on the plan.

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