Czechs to renew border checks amid new migrant wave

PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech government has decided to renew checks at its border with Slovakia amid a new wave of migration.

The new measure becomes effective on Thursday at 27 border crossings between the two European Union countries that belong to Europe’s visa-free Schengen zone and will last for at least 10 days. A total of 560 police and customs officers will be deployed to carry out the checks.

People will be banned from crossing the border at any other place on the 251-kilometer (155-mile) border. There are exceptions for farmers, foresters and fishermen working at the border areas.

Slovakia’s government said Tuesday it has accepted the Czech decision but wants to discuss the issue at the EU level.

The Czech Interior Ministry said the measure was necessary after authorities detained almost 12,000 illegal migrants on Czech territory this year, most of them from Syria. That is more than during the previous massive migration wave in Europe in 2015. A total of 125 human smugglers have been arrested this year, a significant increase compared with the previous years.

The ministry said that the refugees have been using the Czech Republic as a transit country on their way to the West.

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