LONDON — Hundreds of migrants remained stranded on Serbia’s border with Hungary early Wednesday as Hungary’s decision to seal its border rippled across Europe and other migrants scrambled to find alternative routes, in an effort, in most cases, to reach Germany.
Some were planning to go through Croatia and Slovenia. Another possible route is through Hungary’s border with Romania — which, however, Hungary is also moving to tighten.
At a bus station near Edirne, Turkey, the police were blocking migrants who wished to walk to the nearby border with Bulgaria.
Hungary announced on Wednesday that police officers had detained 519 people for illegal entry or damaging a border fence since new rules came into force a day earlier. The authorities have opened 46 criminal cases so far, and the first suspects were to appear in court Wednesday afternoon, according to Gyorgy Bakondi, an aide to Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Interactive Feature | Closing the Back Door to Europe In recent months European nations have worked to block the main route taken by migrants fleeing war and upheaval.
Prosecutors in Szeged, Hungary, said that four Iraqi citizens would appear in court for illegal crossing, in expedited proceedings. They were held after crossing the border through an opening in the fence that had been cut by others, the Hungarian authorities said.
Hungary’s actions had spillover effects throughout the region. Buses carrying migrants to Serbia’s border with Hungary from its border with Macedonia were instead diverted to Croatia, Serbian news media reported.
Croatia’s prime minister, Zoran Milanovic, said on Wednesday that migrants would be allowed to pass through the country, which is a member of the European Union but borders several countries that are not.
“No one will block them,” he said. “No fences.”
But Mr. Milanovic, who faces a tight race in elections scheduled for mid-November, also made it clear that his country was a temporary stop, not a final destination, for the migrants.
The closing of Hungary’s borders has raised concerns among humanitarian groups that migrants seeking to get to Croatia could inadvertently cross through areas near the Hungarian-Croatian border that are littered with thousands of land mines left from the Balkan wars of the 1990s. On Wednesday, Croatian demining experts were sent to the area where many migrants were arriving, Reuters reported.
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