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Afghan, Pakistani Migrants End Protest March Over Conditions In Serbia

Afghan migrants who have no permission to cross the border between Greece and Macedonia, stay behind a fence, near Gevgelija in February.

More than 100 migrants who set off on foot toward Hungary to protest the European Union's closed borders and deteriorating conditions for migrants in Serbia have ended their march and returned to Belgrade.

The migrants, mostly Afghans and Pakistanis, on October 5 were bused to Belgrade from the town of Indjija, where they had camped overnight at a local gas station. Serbian authorities say some will be taken to centers for asylum seekers.

Hundreds initially took off on October 4 from Belgrade toward the Hungarian border 200 kilometers away to demand that the border open for people fleeing war and poverty.

More than 6,000 migrants remain stuck in Serbia in overcrowded and unsanitary refugee camps after Hungary this summer introduced strict limits for asylum seekers.

Also on October 5, Serbian police said they caught 71 migrants and arrested two people smugglers who had transported them in vans to Zajecar.

Police said the migrants were from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Iran. The two drivers were detained and face criminal charges.

Serbian officials have vowed to step up military and police patrols on the borders with Bulgaria and Macedonia to stem the continuing influx of migrants.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters