First bus with refugees arrived at the Serbo -Croatian border at around 4 AM (local time). In the hours after that more buses arrived, all from Preševo, a city close to the border of Serbia and Macedonia.
During the night around 140 refugees crossed to Croatia from Serbia. Until 13 hours (local time) at least 320 refugees have passed the border, and it is expected that their numbers will increase to at least 1000 during the day.
Around 12:30 local time the first bus with refugees crossed the border headed to Kutina, around 72 kilometers (44 miles) from Croatian capital Zagreb. Other buses followed soon after. Besides Kutina, they’re traveling to Sisak, also close to Zagreb.
Most of those who have arrived are from Syria and Afghanistan, but there are also some from African countries, fleeing poverty, instability and conflicts. Many of them are children and women, Croatian index.hr reports.
Since a lot of the refugees crossed the border near corn fields, the police sent patrols to bring them to registration centers. After convincing them that they were not being arrested, but that they only needed to be registered, refugees entered police cars. When brought to registration centers, there were no incidents or refugees refusing to be registered.
Workers from humanitarian organizations are also at the border, trying to help exhausted refugees.
Meanwhile, Croatian Prime minister Zoran Milanović said that he will call an emergency meeting of Council for National security in the Parliament.
He stated that he doesn’t like to comment on politics of other countries, but that he doesn’t condone what Hungary is doing.
“That is a damaging and dangerous politic. Walls and fences won’t stop anyone, it only sends a terrible and dangerous message. Older people, especially Jews, who have survived World War II, call me and they are terrified by what is happening. I know that this comparison sounds terrible, but having barbed wire fences in 21th century Europe is not the answer, it’s dangerous,” said Milanović.
He went on to say that his first concern is national security of Croatia.
“However, we will not forget that we are human beings, mostly of Christian faith. We will accept and help refugees to go where they want to go, regardless of their skin color and faith,” said Milanović.
Similar to Milanović, Croatian president Kolinda Grabar Kitarović said that she doesn’t want to see scenes like those in Hungary and Macedonia. She also stated that she doesn’t believe that Croatia will close down its borders, like some other countries have done.
Meanwhile, refugees are stranded between the Serbo-Hungarian border. They have spend a night under clear sky. They have started a hunger strike, asking Hungary to let them go through. Banging on the metal barrier they have chanted “open, open, open”. At the same time, more refugees arrived at the Hungarian border, probably unaware of the alternative route trough Croatia.