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Refugees clash with police at France-Italy border

6 August 2016 10:50

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A group of mostly African refugees have clashed with border police as they attempted to cross from the Italian coastal city of Ventimiglia into France.

Tens of refugees caught Italian and French police “by surprise” on Friday after rushing to the rocky shore in Ventimiglia near Italy’s border with France, according to an RT report.

The refugees, mostly Sudanese, Eritreans and Ethiopians, had arrived in Ventimiglia from the Italian island of Sicily with the hope of continuing their journey to France and northern Europe.

However, they were met by French security officers, who used pepper spray to turn back the refugees who had managed to enter the French border town of Menton.

Some 150 refugees held a protest on the Italian side against the border closure.

The report added that the refugees, including families with pregnant women and children, are trapped in limbo with no access to any type of services or reception centers.

They were forced to sleep outside at a makeshift camp on the rocks near Ventimiglia, home to the last train station before the Italian-French border.

Meanwhile, another group of the asylum seekers avoided Friday clashes by moving away and trying to reach France by walking along the rail tracks, where one teenager was reported struck by a train.

The European Union is struggling with its worst refugee crisis since World War II.

According to the figures released by the Italian Interior Ministry in July, 270,930 people landed in Italy between January and June this year, compared to 153,000 refugees who arrived in the European country last year.

Since 2014, more than 10,000 refugees have died or are feared to have drowned while attempting cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe, according to the UN.

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