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Migrants at Polish safe house say Belarusian guards forced them to cross border

CA, 21 Nov 2021
Migrants who said they’ve been hiding in a Polish safe house said Belarusian guards forced them to cross into Poland, despite moving thousands of asylum seekers from a border encampment to a warehouse in the same area.

A Syrian migrant who had been at the border encampment since Nov. 12 said the guards brought a group of about 500 migrants to a bridge during the night and told them to cross.

“We kept walking until they spoke with an organization and the organization took care of us and brought us here. It was very tiring, cold, with no food, no water, no warmth or anything,” the man said.

Belarus, which denies provoking the crisis, cleared the encampment along its border with Poland on Thursday and began repatriating some of the migrants to Iraq. However, Poland says Minsk is still trucking hundreds of migrants to the border.

Europe accuses Belarus of flying in thousands of people from the Middle East and Africa and pushing them to cross the border in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the EU following the disputed 2020 election that saw President Alexander Lukashenko maintain his grip on power.

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