BELGRADE (Sputnik) – Croatian police fired tear gas against migrants to protect children from a stampede, Croatian Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic said Wednesday.
Media outlets had reported that migrants clashed with law enforcement officers at Opatovac refugee camp earlier in the day, prompting police to use tear gas against them. A number of injuries, including two children, have been reported as a result.
"The police used pepper spray in Opatovac to save the lives of children from a stampede," the Croatian government’s Twitter account relayed Ostojic’s words.
Last week, Croatia closed traffic on all but one of its land border crossings with Serbia to the east, after Zagreb said the country could not take in any more refugees.
Official data suggested at least 44,000 refugees have arrived in Croatia since last week, mainly through its border with Serbia.
Most of the refugees fleeing war and poverty in countries of origin in the Middle East and Northern Africa use the Balkans as a transit route on their way to Western Europe.