Late on Thursday Croatian officials announced they were closing roads leading to seven border crossings with Serbia.
Scuffles broke out in two locations on the border with Serbia as people grew frustrated after hours of waiting.
Croatian authorities closed all of the country’s border crossings with Serbia except for one Friday after straining to cope with 11,000 migrants and refugees who have entered the country after Hungary closed off its border.
The EU’s failure to find a unified response to the crisis left this tiny Balkan nation, one of the poorest in the European Union, squeezed between the blockades thrown up by Hungary and Slovenia and the unending flood of people flowing north from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
ABC’s Tom Rivers joined us from London to discuss.
Mandica Yurisha, a Croatian Red Cross volunteer, said it was clear nobody wanted to remain in Croatia.
Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic said the capacity to take in migrants has been reached.
What is the next route through Europe?
“We came here last night when they said “wait here for a while” and then they brought in police cars to block the bridge”, said Ahmed Ali from the embattled Damascus neighborhood of Yarmouk, holding a baby girl in his arms. They finally gave up and the migrants started running into Croatia.
Slovenia, like Hungary, is within the borderless Schengen zone.
Hungary said it would send a diplomatic protest note to Croatia.
The BBC’s Lyse Doucet, at Tovarnik, described a mad rush as the first train for 24 hours pulled in on Thursday evening.
In the afternoon, buses began taking migrants to another station to travel on to Zagreb. Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia are all products of the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
The BBC’s Lucy Williamson witnessed thousands of jubilant migrants streaming across the bridge and through the border, into Croatia and the EU.
United Nations rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said Hungarian government policy was apparently being guided by “xenophobic and anti-Muslim views”, while Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said: “This torture and non-European behaviour must stop”.
It was this decision that triggered the move by thousands of migrants, who had travelled to Serbia via Macedonia and Greece, to try to reach Western Europe via Croatia instead.
The migrants entering Hungary from Croatia were being registered and sent to reception centers near the Austrian border, from where they would likely cross to Austria and on to Germany, the favored destination for the vast majority.
Meanwhile Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto says the country will extend its fence along the border with Romania. Slovenia halted rail service to Croatia and was sending migrants back there, while Hungary began building yet another razor-wire border fence, this time on its border with Croatia.
EU President Donald Tusk has called for an emergency summit next Wednesday.
Hundreds of thousands of people, many of them Syrians fleeing war, have sought refuge in the European Union this year.
“People will continue to try to reach Europe through Hungary, Croatia or any other route that might be available to them”, he told CNN.
Still, the country’s prime minister insisted that the country was not sealing off its border and would not do so.
The new measures would cut benefits to new arrivals, expedite deportations and punish false asylum claims.