Hungary to stem migrant flow along border with Serbia

Migrants from Asia and the Middle-East make this railway station in Budapest their temporary shelter. -- AFP photo

Migrants from Asia and the Middle-East make this railway station in Budapest their temporary shelter. -- AFP photo

Syndicated News
Written by Syndicated News
BUDAPEST — August 26, 2015: Hungary’s police chief said today more than 2,100 police would be sent to the country’s border with Serbia, as record numbers of refugees and migrants pour into the EU member state.

“The border protection will be reinforced with 2,106 extra police from September 5,” Karoly Papp told reporters here.

The reinforcements, called ‘border hunters’, will patrol the length of the border, supporting the more than 1,000 regular police already working around the clock to intercept illegal immigrants, Papp said.

The announcement came as the police fired tear gas at migrants near the Roszke border crossing, where a majority of people cross into Hungary from non-EU member Serbia.

A police spokesman told AFP that officers intervened after migrants tried to leave the main processing centre without being fingerprinted.

More than 2,500 people, the highest ever daily total, crossed into Hungary yesterday.

The majority were from Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and included 555 children.

Police in Röszke also said that record numbers of migrants streaming from Serbia continue to climb. On Monday, there were 2,000 arrivals.

The migrants crossing into Hungary are part of around 7,000 refugees and migrants whose journey to the European Union was blocked last week when Macedonia declared a state of emergency and shut its borders for three days after being overwhelmed by the influx.

The western Balkans has now become one of the main routes into the EU, as people from the Middle East, Asia and Africa try to reach Germany and other western European countries.

Europe’s worst migration crisis since World War II is set to dominate a summit of leaders from the western Balkans tomorrow in Vienna that will also be attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Germany expects to take in a record 800,000 migrants this year.

Hungary, which is part of the passport-free Schengen zone, has registered more than 100,000 asylum-seekers so far in 2015, over double the total for all of last year.

The numbers leapt from 150 per day in the first half of this year to more than 2,000 in August, after Hungary’s conservative government announced it would build a razor-wire fence along its border with Serbia.

The fence is one of several tough anti-migrant measures, which also include tightening asylum laws, introducing penalties for illegal border crossing, and the planned closure of permanent refugee camps.



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