06:54 GMT13 August 2020
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    Hundreds of demonstrators have gathered on Saturday for a pro-refugee rally at the Brenner Pass on the Austrian-Italian border, amid Vienna’s plans to build a fence to restrict migrant access through the crossing.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Brenner Pass, which is situated within the borderless Schengen zone, has been used by refugees and asylum seekers on route to wealthy northern European states. In late April, Austria's federal state police announced the country's plans to construct a fence at the in the Alpine crossing, as the country was seeking to prevent the arrival of undocumented migrants.

    According to the RT television channel, the protesters are demanding that Austria allow refugees to enter the country.

    The UN refugee agency estimates that over 17,000 migrants arrived in Italy in the first three months of 2016 after crossing the Mediterranean Sea. Most of them are from the Middle East and North Africa.

    Last month, the European Commission sent a letter to Vienna demanding an explanation for the construction of a new border-control post at the Brenner Pass. The Commission said it was "very concerned" about the move, as it could represent a violation of the Schengen Agreement.

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