Tovarnik: Amid chaotic scenes at its border with Serbia, Croatia said on Thursday it could not cope with a flood of migrants seeking a new route into the EU after Hungary kept them out by erecting a fence and using tear gas and water cannon against them.
The European Union`s newest member state said it may try to stop taking in migrants, just as the 28-nation bloc announced it leaders would hold an emergency summit on Sept. 23 to try to resolve the migration crisis, which has deeply divided it.
More than 7,300 people entered Croatia from Serbia in the 24 hours after Wednesday`s clashes between Hungarian riot police and stone-throwing refugees at its Balkan neighbour`s frontier.
At the eastern border town of Tovarnik, Croatian riot police struggled to keep crowds of men, women and children back from rail tracks after long queues formed in baking heat for buses bound for reception centres elsewhere in Croatia.
Police were also deployed in a suburb of the capital Zagreb, taking up positions around a hotel housing hundreds of migrants, some of them on balconies shouting "Freedom! Freedom!". Others threw rolls of toilet paper from the balconies and windows.
"Croatia will not be able to receive more people," Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic told reporters in Tovarnik.
"When we said corridors are prepared (for migrants), we meant a corridor from Tovarnik to Zagreb," he added, suggesting Croatia would not simply let migrants head north to Slovenia, which is part of the EU`s Schengen zone of border-free travel.
The flood of migrants into Croatia has accelerated since Hungary sealed its southern, external EU frontier with Serbia on Tuesday, to keep out the asylum seekers and refugees, many of whom hope eventually to reach wealthy Germany.
"I just want to go," Syrian Kamal Al`hak said in Tovarnik, among people sitting or lying by the tracks trying to shade themselves from the sun. "I may return to Syria, but only in a few years. It`s too dangerous there now."