Italian demonstrators clashed with Austrian police on Sunday when they crossed the Brenner Pass border to protest against Austria's plans to enforce controls to limit the passage of migrants.

Some 500 human rights activists marched on the border Sunday, lighting flares and spraying "Welcome" on a sign announcing the passage to Austria. Austrian police said they detained around 50 protests for throwing stones at officers, injuring five, and vandalizing property.

Police used batons and pepper spray to drive back the protesters, according to reports in the Austrian media.

An Austrian official was also quoted in the German media as saying that Austria will deploy soldiers to the borders to ensure that an expected influx through Italy won't make it north.

Several European Union countries have responded to the influx of migrants from across the Mediterranean by reintroducing border controls along their previously open frontiers.

Many expect that an EU-Turkey deal tightening the Balkans route will send migrants across the sea to Italy and then northwards, once weather permits.