World | Europe

September 08, 2015

Refugees Break Through Police Lines and March on Hungary Highway

Hundreds of migrants have climbed over police fencing and begun to walk to Budapest. The move follows frustration over the long registration procedures and their treatment in the interim.

Scores of frustrated refugees broke through the police barrier near Hungary's border with Serbia on Monday and began the journey to Budapest on foot. Marching against incoming traffic on the shoulder of the highway to the capital, the group of around 200 asylum seekers walked about 15 miles (24 kilometers) in Hungary before police mediators were able to convince them to get on buses headed back to the nearby registration camp.

The refugees were part of a crowd of nearly 1,000 who had earlier pushed past the police line at Röszke, a town close to the Serbian border that serves as the first stop for refugees trying to enter the European Union.

Authorities were forced to close a section of the M5 highway after the group climbed over the barrier and on to the road towards Budapest.

There were other, small scuffles between asylum seekers and police Monday as chants of "Freedom!" were heard from migrants fed up with waiting for hours out in the open as buses slowly brought them in waves to the registration point.

More sustained clashes have broken out between the authorities and refugees as the camp as Röszke become increasingly overcrowded. On Friday, police fired tear gas at migrants who had thrown stones at officials.

Hungary approves anti-refugee measures

The same day as violence broke out in Röszke, Hungary's parliament approved a slate of anti-migrant laws, one of which criminalizes illegal border crossing from Serbia, set to come into force on September 15th.

Elsewhere in Europe, Germany and France agreed to ease the burden on Greece, Italy, and Hungary by taking on tens of thousands of asylum seekers from those countries which often struggle disproportionally as the natural first country of entry. Germany will receive 40,000 newcomers and France 30,000 as part of a new draft quota system presented by the European Union.

Text by Reuters
 

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