Police, migrants scuffle on border between Serbia and Croatia

SID, Serbia/TOVARNIK, Croatia (Reuters) - A group of migrants scuffled with police on Monday as they tried to enter Croatia from Serbia and continue their way towards Western Europe.

Some 100 migrants broke a Serbian police cordon and tried to enter Croatia across fields, but were stopped by police forces from both countries who encircled them in the no-man’s-land, Reuters witness said.

The migrants, largely from Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to local media, marched for two days on the highway some 125 km (80 miles) from the Serbian capital Belgrade and arrived at the border on Sunday evening.

They said they did not want to return to reception centers in Serbia, complaining about living conditions, and demanded free passage to Western Europe.

Croatia’s Interior Minister Vlaho Orepic said on Sunday Croatia would not allow illegal entry to the migrants.

Serbia’s Interior Minister Nebojska Stefanovic said his country would not allow the migrants to block highways and border crossings to cross into “another country which would not take them.”

According to the U.N. refugee agency, around 6,400 migrants from countries such as Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan are registered in Serbia, but local non-governmental organizations say the number is close to 10,000.

Reporting by Fedja Grulovic; Writing by Igor Ilic in Zagreb; Additional reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic in Belgrade; Editing by Robin Pomeroy