HORGOS, Serbia — Hungarian police officers moved against hundreds of migrants on Wednesday, attacking them with batons, water cannons and tear gas after they tried to surge through a border crossing that had been blocked for a second day.
The migrants tore down a razor-wire gate on the Serbian side of the border crossing, and were pushing through to a second gate on the Hungarian side when the riot police drove them back. Twenty people were injured, including two children who had been thrown across the fence into Hungary, and taken to a hospital, the authorities said.
But the migrants soon started fires and threw rocks toward the police officers, who then came at them with batons, beating their way through the crowd. The clash followed two days of frustration for the migrants, some of whom arrived here soon after Hungary imposed tough new laws on Tuesday to prevent their passage into the country, and enforced the laws with armed police officers at a reinforced border with Serbia.
It was the first major clash on the land route from Turkey since Aug. 21, when the Macedonian police used stun grenades to break up a group of migrants trying to cross the border into their country from Greece.
Already some of the migrants who had reached the crossing had given up and peeled off, heading for new routes through Croatia and other countries on their journey west, where they hope to apply for asylum in places like Germany and Sweden.
But about 2,000 remained behind, still hoping that Hungary would reconsider, as it had done once before, and let them pass to Austria, on buses or by train.
By late afternoon, the calm, almost-festive atmosphere at an informal encampment at the closed crossing point grew increasingly tense, and hundreds of migrants pressed the border.
“Open! Open! Open!” the migrants chanted. About 50 riot police officers formed a barrier. A vehicle armed with water cannons stood nearby. Military helicopters hovered overhead.
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The police fired tear gas. Many of the migrants gagged and poured water over their eyes to stop the sting, but the action drove them back.
Throngs of young men then set trash and wood on fire. Others hurled blocks of charred wood and stones at the fence, and at the police officers guarding it.
The police appeared to pull back, and suddenly the …Read More