Serbian police cleared hundreds of migrants at Hungary's southern border after the group amassed for a protest stunt local authorities and media believe was likely organized by non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Up to 500 illegal migrants marched to a border crossing linking Kelebia, Serbia, and Tompa, Hungary, as part of an action coined 'Abroon Caravan.'
The demonstration was reportedly coordinated ahead of time in private social media groups, but details and a list of instructions to marchers were leaked to authorities and media.
“In a leaked letter, the organizers also pointed out that the international media would be present in large numbers, so that news of the demonstration would spread quickly and that the images would be visible to the world in minutes or hours," Hungarian outlet Kuruc reports. "All these signs suggest that a non-governmental organization may be behind the organization of the migrant caravan.”
'Humanitarian groups,' such as Doctors Without Borders, distributed blankets and tents to migrants who planned to camp at the border, according to Hirado.
Some migrants sat on the ground with flowers in their laps, while others held signs reading, "Our children deserve better life,” "Let us go through in peace,” and “We are refugees, not criminals.”
Women and children in the group – which Kuruc referred to as "Trojan horses" – were prominently featured in an effort to garner emotional leverage.
"According to security policy experts, migrants are hoping that the presence of women and children will lead them to cross the border," Hirado reports.
However, the group was comprised mostly of young men, as M1 correspondent Malya Lilla explained during a live television broadcast, saying the few children present were presented as tokens of "peace."
During the evening, children were reportedly brought to the border fence and instructed to “chant and appeal to the hearts of the border guards on duty.”
Hungarian police ordered the border crossing closed indefinitely, directing all traffic to alternate crossings.
After midnight, hundreds of Serbian police officers moved in and gathered the migrants onto waiting buses and returned them to asylum centers within Serbia.
Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin vowed illegal migrants would not be allowed to "disrupt good neighborly relations between Serbia and Hungary."
Hungary recently announced it was doubling the number of soldiers deployed to defend the country's borders, with officials warning over 100,000 migrants have gathered on the Balkan Peninsula and are threatening to flood Europe in a new crisis potentially rivaling 2015.
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(PHOTO: ISTVAN HUSZTI/AFP via Getty Images)Dan Lyman: Follow @CitizenAnalyst