The Latest: Migrants clash with police at Macedonian border

AP News
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Posted: Nov 26, 2015 9:52 AM
The Latest: Migrants clash with police at Macedonian border

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The latest on the mass movement of asylum-seekers and others seeking refuge in Europe. All times local:

3:50 p.m.

Scores of migrants stranded at Greece's northern border have clashed with police while trying to force their way into Macedonia.

The migrants from Iran, Morocco, Pakistan and several other countries confronted Macedonian riot police who were seen hitting protesters with batons.

Macedonia toughened rules for migrant crossings earlier this month, restricting access to citizens from countries typically granted asylum in Europe, including Syria and Afghanistan.

At least 10 migrants stranded at the border are on hunger strike and have sewn their mouths closed in protest.

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1:45 p.m.

Norwegian police and border officials have started checking identification papers of passengers arriving and leaving, in a move to stem the flow of asylum-seekers.

The measures adopted Thursday are planned to last 10 days. They include checks on ferries arriving from Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Police have advised all travelers to carry proof of their identity, including if they are moving around in border regions.

Norway announced the tighter controls after neighboring Sweden proposed tough measures to deal with a huge influx of migrants, expected to reach 200,000 by year's end — the highest proportionate rate in Europe. Norwegian expects 33,000 refugees this year, a threefold increase on 2014.

Finland, which has seen a tenfold increase in asylum-seekers this year to an expected 35,000, adopted ID checks and tighter border controls in September.

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noon

Czech President Milos Zeman, known for his critical views of Islam, says Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka is endangering the country by not fully recognizing the danger asylum-seekers are posing.

In an interview published in Thursday's edition of the Mlada Fronta daily, Zeman say that unlike the prime minister he considers the migrant wave "an organized invasion."

Sobotka previously dismissed Zeman's suggestion that migration is linked to terrorism. He said it is the terrorists from the Islamic State group who have to be combated, not the refugees.

Sobotka and other members of his government on Thursday also renewed their criticism of Zeman for addressing a rally of his supporters organized by a major anti-Muslim group on Nov. 17, the 26th anniversary of the anti-communist Velvet Revolution.

In the interview, Zeman said he would do it again.

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10:30 a.m.

A Dutch advisory court says that the government can demand of migrants who have had their asylum applications rejected that they cooperate with efforts to repatriate them in return for basic accommodation in the Netherlands.

The Council of State said in a ruling Thursday that the justice ministry is entitled to demand the cooperation in return for providing rejected asylum-seekers with "bed, bath and bread" accommodation while they wait to be sent back to their home country.

While the number of migrants affected by the ruling is now relatively low, it is expected to soar in coming months amid the European migrant crisis that has seen thousands of people apply for asylum in the Netherlands.