Thousands of migrants and refugees, including many women and children, spent a cold, rainy night in the open as Balkan governments argue over what to do with them. Many were stranded at the Croatian-Slovenian border after Croatia sent a train carrying about 1,800 people there, despite Slovenia's refusal to take them. Croatian police ordered them off the train, but Slovenian police were deployed to the border and put up iron fences to prevent a mass entry.

For hours, the migrants sought ways to sneak into Slovenia on foot, while Croatian police on the other side prevented them from turning back. Slovenian police said they would first register women and children from the train and let them into the country, while the rest remained stranded out in the open on a field, wrapped in raincoats or plastic sheeting to protect themselves and their children from the driving rain.

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Members of a migrant family look out from a train window at a station in Cakovec, CroatiaAntonio Bronic/Reuters
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Police stand guard as migrants wait to get off a train at a station in Sredisce ob Dravi, SloveniaSrdjan Zivulovic/Reuters
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A child reacts after getting off a train in Cakovec in Croatia, before being transported to Slovenia by bus and trainAntonio Bronic/Reuters
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Someone carries a child under a blanket as they wait to enter Slovenia from CroatiaSrdjan Zivulovic/Reuters
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People warm themselves around a bonfire in the no man's land between Croatia and SloveniaSrdjan Zivulovic/Reuters
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An EU sign is seen as migrants and refugees rest at the border crossing from Slovenia to CroatiaAntonio Bronic/Reuters
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A man looks through a fence towards a border crossing between Croatia and SloveniaSrdjan Zivulovic/Reuters

There was a similar situation on the border between Serbia and Croatia. Several thousand people, many of them Syrians fleeing war, spent the night on the muddy ground in the no-man's land between the two countries. "Open the gate, open the gate!" they chanted, held back by lines of Croatian police. Dr Ramiz Momeni, director of the UK-based Humanitas Charity, helping out on the Serbia-Croatia border, said: "There's a bottleneck of people that can't get anywhere so they have to stay here in the rain. Some of these people have been here under sheets for 12 hours. Of course, they're going to get sick."

Tensions are building among the migrants and refugees fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia and seeking to head toward Western Europe. Many of those who were stopped at the border between Serbia and Croatia have started walking through orchards and corn fields away from the border crossing in search of new paths.

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People shelter from the rain as they wait to cross into Croatia from SerbiaMarko Djurica/Reuters
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A child waits to enter Croatia from the Serbian village of BerkasovoAndrej Isakovic/AFP
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People warm themselves around a bonfire as they to cross the Croatian border near the village of Berkasovo, SerbiaMarko Djurica/Reuters
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People protecting themselves from the rain are wreathed in smoke from bonfires as they wait to cross from Serbia into CroatiaMarko Djurica/Reuters
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Desperate migrants and refugees jump over a fence as they attempt to cross the Croatian border from SerbiaMarko Djurica/Reuters

After Hungary closed its border with Croatia to migrants on Friday 16 October, the flow of people trying to reach Austria and Germany has been diverted to Slovenia. However, Slovenia, a country of two million people, has imposed a daily limit of around 2,500. Upwards of 5,000 people are flowing across Balkan borders daily. Slovenia said it imposed a daily limit because Austria was accepting a maximum of 1,500, far fewer than were previously entering from Hungary, but a spokesman for the Austrian Interior Ministry denied Vienna had set any limit.

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Migrants and refugees walk to the border with Hungary after arriving by train in Botovo, Croatia, on Friday 16 October, ahead of the midnight closingAntonio Bronic/AFP
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A man holding a child makes the final crossing from Croatia into HungaryAttila Kisbenedek/AFP
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Migrants and refugees hurry to cross into Hungary before the border with Croatia was sealedAttila Kisbenedek/AFP
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Migrants and refugees are reflected in a puddle as they make the crossingAttila Kisbenedek/AFP
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Migrants and refugees are pictured crossing into Hungary on Friday 16 October, just before the border was sealedAFP
Migrants Hungary Slovenia
Hungarian police and soldiers close the border between Hungary and Croatia on Friday 16 October, after letting one last group of migrants and refugees throughAFP
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Hungarian soldiers seal a gap in the border fence between Hungary and Croatia shortly after midnight on 17 October 2015Laszlo Balogh/Reuters

Hungarian soldiers were also seen uncoiling rolls of barbed wire along the Slovenia-Hungary border on 25 September. Prime Minister Viktor Orban said it was not building a fence between the two Schengen countries, instead describing what was being set up as "earthworks". A Reuters journalist reported later in the day that in some locations where barbed wire had been set up it was later taken down.

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Hungarian soldiers set up a razor wire barrier on the Slovenian-Hungarian border – the first within the European Union's passport-free Schengen zoneJure Makovec/AFP

Hungary's right-wing government says the mainly Muslim migrants pose a threat to Europe's prosperity, security and "Christian values", and has sealed its borders with Serbia and Croatia with a steel fence and new laws that rights groups say deny refugees their right to seek protection.