On February 13, 2019, around 3 am, the group of three was caught by the Croatian authorities in the area of Drežnic (HRV). There were two police cars, one with two male officers, the second one with one male and one female officer, all in black uniforms. The officers made the three men lie down, facing the ground. One of the officers put his feet on the neck of one of them to keep him down. The officers then called another car which the group of three had to enter. This car drove them directly to the border of Bosnia near the city of Šturlić, which took around one hour. It was mostly dark inside the car, only sometimes they had some light.
“It was so cold, like a freezer inside.”
During the drive the officers were shouting at the people on the move to not come back.
When the van door was opened at the border area next to a river, there were four officers waiting outside, dressed in completely black uniforms and balaclavas. All three of them got off the van and were forced to run towards the river. One officer followed them with a baton, attempting to beat them. The other officers shot their handguns in the air. They shouted at them to go back to Bosnia and forced them into the river. The water of the river was waist high.
During their interactions, the officers confiscated two of the group’s phones. One of them was broken and returned, the other one was stolen.
Reflecting on this experience, one of the respondents compared the idea of Europe to a mother, framing himself and his friends as her reluctant child:
“We are like an adoptive child trying to please his mother.”