Europe

Migrant crisis: Brenner frontier demonstration sees clashes

Police use pepper spray against protesters demonstrating against the closure of borders on the Italian-Austrian border (03/04/2016) Image copyright AP
Image caption Austrian authorities said five police officers were injured in the violence

Austrian police have clashed with people demonstrating against the closure of Europe's frontiers at a border crossing with Italy.

Hundreds of people had gathered at the Brenner Pass, a key transit route from northern Italy, for a peaceful march.

Trouble broke out at the end, when some 50 protesters clashed with police in riot gear.

Austria has said it plans stricter border controls at Brenner in response to the migrant crisis.

On Saturday, Defence Minister Peter Doskozil said soldiers would be deployed with police at the Brenner Pass. He said the measures were necessary because the EU's outer borders were not properly protected.

In a statement, the governor of the Austrian province of Tyrol said five police officers had been injured. He condemned the violence.

Tyrol media said some 1,000 human rights activists from Italy, Germany and Austria had gathered at Brenner station to demonstrate against the closure of borders in Europe.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Welcome has been painted on the sign marking entry into Austria

A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum. This group includes people fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria, who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.