Activists protest EU migration policies at Croatian border

International

A man holds a banner during a protest against the violent pushbacks of migrants, allegedly conducted by Croatian police, near the border crossing between Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina in Maljevac, Croatia, Saturday, June 19, 2021. More than one hundred members of human rights NGO’s, mostly from Italy, but also from Germany, Austria, Spain and Slovenia blocked the border traffic for about two hours protesting demanding a stop of all deportation of migrants, and cancellation of EU’s Frontex operations at borders, preventing migrants from traveling. (AP Photo/Edo Zulic)

MALJEVAC, Croatia (AP) — Dozens of human rights advocates briefly blocked Croatia’s border with Bosnia on Saturday to protest the European Union’s migration policies.

The protesters demanded that EU’s border agency, Frontex, be dismantled and countries end their pushbacks of migrants trying to reach Western Europe. Waving banners reading “Stop deportation,” or “No human is illegal,” they parked cars at the border and shouted slogans against EU policies.

No incidents were reported as Croatian police stood nearby.

Croatian officers have faced allegations of using violence to turn back migrants trying to come in from Bosnia, which authorities have denied.

Thousands of people remain stranded in Bosnia while waiting for a chance to cross into the EU member state Croatia and move on toward other, wealthier EU nations.

Francesco Cibati, from a rights group based in Trieste, Italy, said protesters came to demand that everyone be granted the right to seek asylum. He said organizations from Spain, Germany, France, Austria and Slovenia supported the protest.

“European Union is violently pushing back people and Croatian police is doing that on behalf of European Union, paid by European Union,” he said. “So we are here to protest this situation, which is intolerable.”

Migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Mideast, Africa or Asia come to the Balkans by first arriving in Turkey, then slipping into Greece or Bulgaria before moving on toward North Macedonia, Serbia and Bosnia.

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