Latvia declares state of emergency along its Belarus border

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Latvia has declared a state of emergency at its Belarus border, authorizing the border guards but also armed forces and police to use physical force to return illegal immigrants to the country from which they came. Like neighboring Lithuania, Latvia has faced an influx of mostly Iraqi migrants coming in from Belarus in the past few months. The Baltic News Service said now Latvia’s Armed Forces and the State Police could assist the Border Guard with preventing illegal immigration. It said between Aug. 6 and Aug. 10, 283 people were detained for crossing the border, over 80% of this year’s total. Both Latvia and Lithuania have blamed Belarus’ authoritarian leader for promoting the influx of migrants as a retaliation against the European Union.

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