Europe

Protesters clash with police at Italian-Austrian border

  • "Welcome" is painted to the Austrian Border sign after protests  in the village of Brenner on the Italian-Austrian border, Sunday, April 3, 2016.  Austria's defense minister said his country will deploy soldiers at a key Alpine pass to stop migrants arriving from Italy. Hans Peter Doskozil told German daily Die Welt that the move anticipates a shift in migrant flows from the Turkey-Greece route to the central Mediterranean. In an interview published Saturday, the newspaper quotes Doskozil saying that the military can provide "considerable support to border security" at the Brenner pass.  (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)

    "Welcome" is painted to the Austrian Border sign after protests in the village of Brenner on the Italian-Austrian border, Sunday, April 3, 2016. Austria's defense minister said his country will deploy soldiers at a key Alpine pass to stop migrants arriving from Italy. Hans Peter Doskozil told German daily Die Welt that the move anticipates a shift in migrant flows from the Turkey-Greece route to the central Mediterranean. In an interview published Saturday, the newspaper quotes Doskozil saying that the military can provide "considerable support to border security" at the Brenner pass. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)  (The Associated Press)

  • "Refugees wellcome to EU" is painted on a street in front of Austrian police officers in thevillage of Brenner on the Italian-Austrian border, Sunday, April 3, 2016.   Austria's defense minister said his country will deploy soldiers at a key Alpine pass to stop migrants arriving from Italy. Hans Peter Doskozil told German daily Die Welt that the move anticipates a shift in migrant flows from the Turkey-Greece route to the central Mediterranean. In an interview published Saturday, the newspaper quotes Doskozil saying that the military can provide "considerable support to border security" at the Brenner pass.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)

    "Refugees wellcome to EU" is painted on a street in front of Austrian police officers in thevillage of Brenner on the Italian-Austrian border, Sunday, April 3, 2016. Austria's defense minister said his country will deploy soldiers at a key Alpine pass to stop migrants arriving from Italy. Hans Peter Doskozil told German daily Die Welt that the move anticipates a shift in migrant flows from the Turkey-Greece route to the central Mediterranean. In an interview published Saturday, the newspaper quotes Doskozil saying that the military can provide "considerable support to border security" at the Brenner pass.(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)  (The Associated Press)

  • A protester  hold a banner in the  Italian village of Brenner on the Italian-Austrian border, Sunday, April 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)

    A protester hold a banner in the Italian village of Brenner on the Italian-Austrian border, Sunday, April 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)  (The Associated Press)

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.