Austria/Slovenia Border: Thousands of Refugees Packed in Small Holding Area

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Friday update:

During the Thursday night and Friday morning, more than 4,000 arrived in Slovenia from Croatia. Around 3,500 refugees were at the border crossing Šentilj, on Slovenian/Austrian border. Another 3,500 spent the night at the border.

Meanwhile, the two biggest newspapers in Slovenia “Delo” and “Dnevnik” wrote about the inhumane conditions refugees have to suffer. Journalist of “Delo”, who has visited the refugee center in Dobova (on Croatia/Slovenia border) said that, in some aspects, it is possible to agree with one activist that described Dobova to Slovenian PM Miro Cerar as a “concentration camp”.

Allocation center is without bathroom and only one doctor is supposed to take care of several thousand people.

“It is true that conditions resemble those in a concentration camp. There is no toilet paper or a place where people could wash their face and the smell is so bad that people rather chose to sleep outside. There’s a lot of pushing when during food sharing because refugees are afraid that they won’t get their part. This way, a lot of fish from cans falls on the flow, fulling stereotypes that they’re not hungry”, writes “Delo”.

Video – “Stay calm and take care,” announces border guard at Austrian border as thousands wait to cross on Friday night. (video via @Carolyn_Cole)

Thursday: A group of a couple thousand refugees broke through the fence in Šentilj on the border between Slovenia and Austria on Thursday, clashing with the special police forces. Previously refugees had waited for hours in very low temperature, bottled up in a small space. Croatian national television HRT reports that there were so many refugees that they couldn’t fit in the space designed for them, after which they rushed through the fence.


After about half an hour of chaos, the situation calmed down and the refugees were forced to sit in the mud or on the cold ground.

Al Jazeera Balkan reporter on the border Ivana Brkic Tomljenovic reports that refugees were without food and water for hours, only to later receive a dry meal. “Around 2.000 people were packed in a small space between two borders. They started letting them trough in small groups in the evening. It’s very cold here, around 10ºC, (50ºF) they all hope that they won’t spend a night here. Parents kept saying that their children are hungry”, said Brkic Tomljenovic. Video from just before the incident started.

Šentilj: netom prije nego što je probijena ograda, policajac je izbjeglicama i migrantima vikao ‘There are babies here, stop pushing!’ (‘Ovdje ima beba, prestanite gurati!’), snimila Barbara Vid http://bit.ly/1ikQu7q

Posted by HRT Vijesti on Thursday, October 29, 2015

Meanwhile, Slovenian Government predicted a possibility of strengthening border control, while Austria said its planning to construct a fence at the main border crossing used by refugees.

Chancellor of Austria Werner Faymann said that building a fence does not mean shutting down the border, but allowing better control of arrivals.

Slovenian riot police tries to prevent migrants from pushing and going over a fence as a crowd of migrants and refugees waits to cross the Slovenian-Austrian border in Sentilj, Slovenia on October 29, 2015. Austria on October 28 announced plans to build a fence at a major border crossing with fellow EU state Slovenia to "control" the migrant influx, in a blow to the bloc's cherished passport-free Schengen zone. AFP PHOTO / RENE GOMOLJ

Slovenian riot police tries to prevent refugees from pushing and going over a fence Photo:AFP/RENE GOMOLJ

Migrants and refugees go over a fence to cross the Slovenian-Austrian border in Sentilj, Slovenia, to Spielfeld, Austria, on October 29, 2015. Austria on October 28 announced plans to build a fence at a major border crossing with fellow EU state Slovenia to "control" the migrant influx, in a blow to the bloc's cherished passport-free Schengen zone. AFP PHOTO / RENE GOMOLJ

Photo:AFP/RENE GOMOLJ

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Photo: HRT

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Agan Uzunović is a journalist from Bosnia and Herzegovina writing for Revolution News and Bosnian media. Follow him on Twitter @AganU8.