The Slovenia Times

Refugees from Rigonce Crossing Let into Slovenia


The first to be let in this morning were families with small children, who were taken by two buses to a reception centre in the nearby town of Brežice, east.

The others are waiting for new buses to take them to Slovenia.

Nevertheless, riot police formed a cordon on a bridge on the border river Sotla. The bridge is situated between the Rigonce crossing and Croatia's crossing Harmica.

The refugees are coming to Rigonce from Croatia by train, which arrives at the nearby Croatian village Harmica every hour.

Rigonce is a local border crossing some two kilometres from the international border crossing of Dobova.

The STA's reporter at Rigonce estimated there are some 100 refugees on the bridge, with another 100 at Harmica.

When they were told they would be taken to Slovenia, one could hear them shouting "Thank you Slovenia, thank you Slovenia!"

Yesterday, several hundred refugees, among them children, gathered in front of Rigonce after they left a reception centre in Croatia.

While the Croatian police first tried to prevent them from proceeding towards Slovenia, it soon let them go on.

A group of refugees who were assisted by Slovenian activists started demanding free passage of the refugees towards western Europe.

They had a banner saying "Nobody is illegal".

The situation escalated as the protesters pushed towards a Slovenian police cordon and the police used tear gas.

Explaining the incident in a press release this morning, the Novo mesto police said the tear gas was used against a violent protester who tried to break through the police cordon.

It added that a group of refugees and protesters was getting increasingly violent, throwing plastic bottles and sticks towards the police officers and even pushing them away.

As a result, tear gas was used "against one protester who violated public peace and order, not against a group of people or foreigners," the police statement says.

The police has also reported that more than 1,100 refugees were apprehended in the area of the city of Novo mesto alone by Saturday morning.

They were processed at the reception centre in Brežice and distributed to accommodation centres around the country, Novo mesto police said.

Some of the refugees are meanwhile waiting to be sent back to Croatia.


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