- Title: Migrant pressure builds in Serbia despite tighter border controls
- Date: 5th October 2016
- Summary: VRSKA CUKA, SERBIA (SEPTEMBER 27, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF MEMBERS OF JOINT ARMY AND POLICE PATROL WALKING VARIOUS OF SOLDIER WATCHING BORDER THROUGH BINOCULARS SOLDIERS AND POLICEMAN ON WATCH SOLDIER IN FIELD WATCHING BORDER ARMOURED PERSONNEL CARRIER PATROLLING VARIOUS OF SOLDIER WATCHING BORDER ON MONITOR (SOUNDBITE) (Serbian) SERBIAN ARMY MAYOR, JOVAN KRIVOKAPIC, SAYING: "Since July 22 joint army and police forces found 9,064 migrants who tried to illegally cross the border. The majority of them gave up the idea to cross the border when they saw our forces patrolling along the border." VARIOUS OF JOINT PATROL DRIVING ALONG BORDER (SOUNDBITE) (Serbian) SERBIAN ARMY MAYOR, JOVAN KRIVOKAPIC, SAYING: "Joint police and army forces have found and arrested 53 smugglers. These smugglers attempted to illegally transport 750 migrants, mostly using passenger cars, vans, under severe conditions. Sometimes smugglers packed 50 people in a car, more than half were women and children." BELGRADE, SERBIA (SEPTEMBER 30, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF MIGRANTS WAITING IN FOOD DISTRIBUTION LINE MIGRANTS IN LINE IN FRONT OF AID AGENCY PEOPLE WAITING IN LINE VARIOUS OF MIGRANTS WALKING TOWARDS DISTRIBUTION POINT VARIOUS OF AID WORKER GIVING FOOD CLOSE OF HAND GIVING FOOD SUBOTICA, SERBIA (SEPTEMBER 27, 2016) (REUTERS) LAUNDRY HANGING ON METAL FENCE AT REFUGEE CENTRE WOMAN PUTTING UP LAUNDRY VARIOUS OF MIGRANTS WASHING CLOTHES MAN WASHING HIS FACE (SOUNDBITE) (English) MIGRANT FROM PAKISTAN, ISMAIL, SAYING: "I tried three times, to cross the fence and we cut the wire, and we go very far away. One time we go maximum 15 kilometres far away, but police (Hungarian) catch us and send us back. And I tried three days before, and we will cross and we will go maximum 5 kilometres and then police catch us and turned us back. (off-camera question: "What is Your plan?") My plan, to go, to cross... first of all my plan to cross the Hungary, then I will see if I have finger in Hungary (referring to collection of fingerprints) then I will go Italia, if no, then I will go Germany. (off-camera question: "and you will try again?") Yeah I will try again and again definitely." VARIOUS OF MIGRANTS COOKING FOOD ON GROUND (SOUNDBITE) (English) MIGRANT FROM IRAN, ARWIN VAZIMI, SAYING: "[I] don't have a plan, because people say to me don't go to Hungary, because he said a lot of police there, and I am afraid, I am very afraid." NEW MIGRANTS COMING TO CENTRE TO REGISTER PEOPLE WAITING IN LINE OFFICIAL FROM COMMISSARIAT FOR REFUGEES AND MIGRATION REGISTER MIGRANT OFFICIAL WRITING DOWN NAME (SOUNDBITE) (Serbian) COORDINATOR FROM SERBIAN COMMISSARIAT FOR REFUGEES AND MIGRATION, LAZAR VELJIC, SAYING: "Migrants have been here for a very long time, and they are very nervous, because they cannot cross the border. Hungarian army and police return them, sometimes with the use of force, and that is very often, so that's why there is tension here in this centre." ROZSKE, HUNGARY (SEPTEMBER 27, 2016) (REUTERS) METAL FENCE ON SERBIAN- HUNGARIAN BORDER POLICEMEN SITTING IN CAR / DRIVING AWAY MIGRANTS SITTING IN TRANSIT ZONE
- Embargoed: 20th October 2016 11:27
- Keywords: Serbia migrants Hungary Bulgaria
- Location: VRSKA CUKA, BELGRADE AND SUBOTICA, SERBIA AND ROSZKE , HUNGARY
- City: VRSKA CUKA, BELGRADE AND SUBOTICA, SERBIA AND ROSZKE , HUNGARY
- Country: Serbia
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00152QALAF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS STORY PREVIOUSLY RAN ON CEEF ON FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 WITH THE NUMBER 5187
Across south-east Europe, governments are throwing up barriers to keep out migrants arriving via Turkey, but numbers are still creeping up as rougher seas lead more to try this Balkan route rather than risk a Mediterranean crossing.
Since July, Serbian border guards have stopped more than 10,000 migrants attempting to cross from Bulgaria and Macedonia, but charities have reported sharply lengthening queues for food in Serbian refugee camps over recent days.
Last autumn, hundreds of thousands of migrants trekked up from Turkey through the rocky Balkan peninsula, hoping to enter the European Union's passport-free Schengen zone by crossing into Hungary. Many were refugees fleeing conflicts in countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Numbers are lower this year, partly because of an agreement under which the EU pays Turkey to house Syrian refugees, and partly because border fences along the route have made the journey harder. But the trickle is growing, and more than 100,000 have reached the Balkans so far this year.
Border patrols deterred most of the migrants, Serbian defence ministry spokesman Jovan Krivokapic said, but 960 illegal migrants had recently been caught and taken to reception centres and thousands more have given up crossing when they saw patrols.
"Since July 22 joint army and police forces found 9,064 migrants who tried to illegally cross the border. The majority of them gave up the idea to cross the border when they saw our forces patrolling along the border."
The patrols, equipped with all-terrain vehicles, armoured personnel carriers and thermal vision equipment, range along the 460 km (285-mile) boundary with Macedonia and Bulgaria. Hungarian officials are helping them, and they are set to be joined by Austrian and French reinforcements.
Only a trickle get across the fenced-off border into Hungary, and that number may fall further after that country holds a referendum on Sunday on whether to accept proposed EU mandatory migrant quotas, after which Budapest may fully seal its borders.
Some 7,000 migrants are currently stranded in camps throughout Serbia, up from 4,000 in July, and tensions are running high. Many refugees make repeated attempts to cross international borders, often with smugglers' help.
"One time we go maximum 15 kilometres far away, but police (Hungarian) catch us and send us back," said one Pakistani migrant of his repeated attempts to sneak into Hungary.
Aid workers at a reception centre by Belgrade's Sava River said lines of migrants queuing for breakfast had doubled in length overnight on Friday morning.
Hungarians overwhelmingly voted to reject the European Union's migrant quotas in a referendum on Sunday which was invalid due to low turnout.
Several hundred refugees set off from the Serbian capital Belgrade on Tuesday (October 4) morning headed for the Hungarian border, holding handwritten banners and chanting demands for the border to be opened.
The crowd walked north along the city's Sava river, stopping occasionally to negotiate with police. All of them appeared to be men and boys from around 15 years old and up.
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