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Poland: Migrants throw stones at police at border

WARSAW (AP) – A group of migrants trying to cross the border from Belarus threw stones at police officers and hit one in the helmet, according to Polish authorities.

The incident occurred on Saturday night near Kolonia Klukowicze, a town near the border with Belarus. The impact of the stone was so strong that “the helmet that protected the policeman’s head was damaged,” according to the police.

In another incident some three hours earlier, about 50 people forced their way through a barrier near another border town, Starzyna, according to police. The police said they had detained 22 Iraqi nationals.

These are the latest developments in a tense struggle on the eastern border of Poland, which is also the external border of the European Union and NATO.

The EU accuses the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, of orchestrating a large migration movement from the Middle East to the border in response to sanctions by his repressive government.

Belarus denies the allegations, but warned in summer that it would stop detaining migrants and others trying to enter the EU.

Many of the migrants are now stranded in makeshift camps, despite freezing temperatures, while Poland has reinforced its border with 15,000 soldiers, as well as guards and police to prevent migrants and refugees from entering the country.

Most are fleeing conflict, poverty and despair in Syria and Iraq and hope to reach Germany or elsewhere in Western Europe.

The Polish Border Guard said it had recorded more than 33,000 attempted illegal border crossings from Belarus so far this year, up from 120 last year.

Some people are known to have made several attempts, and German authorities said they had documented the arrival of 9,000 migrants through Belarus.

Polish police have also detained suspected of smuggling migrants. Two Georgians, a Pole and a Syrian, were arrested on Saturday.

The Polish Interior Minister said he was also trying to debunk rumors spread among migrants that Poland had agreed to transport the migrants to Germany on Monday.

The government said it was sending security alerts in English to the cell phones of people in the area, which read: “This is a total lie and nonsense! Poland will continue to protect its border with Belarus ”.

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
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