Refugee surge leads Hungary to declare state of emergency

Published September 15th, 2015 - 11:30 GMT

Hungary declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in two counties along the border with Serbia because of the influx of refugees.  

This step paves the way for parliament to allow the army to reinforce police along the border, as new measures to crack down on refugees go into effect.

Earlier in the day, Hungarian authorities used a boxcar fitted with razor wire to block a major entry point on the border with Serbia.

Over the last two weeks, tens of thousands of migrants and refugees, most fleeing war in Syria and Iraq, passed through the crossing on a railroad near Roszke, using the last gap in a fence that Hungary built along its 175-kilometer border with Serbia.

Hungary said it registered 9,380 illegal crossings on Monday, nearly doubling the previous record from Sunday and roughly three times the daily average of recent weeks, as people rushed to make it into the country before the fence closed and new laws kicked in. 

Orban's right-wing government has approved measures to arrest and jail migrants who breach the fence.

Aid organizations dismantled a border camp used to shelter migrants who make their way to the European Union after a hazardous journey through the Balkans from Greece, where they arrive on boats from Turkey.

A large group of refugees spent the night in the open at a border crossing near Roszke, hoping to be allowed entry to Hungary. The crowd continued to grow through the night and on Tuesday morning there were about 2,000 people at the Horgos 2 crossing, chanting "let us in, let us in."

Hungary wants to register refugees at new "entry points" before allowing them in, after weeks of chaos that allowed tens of thousands of new arrivals to pass through the country into Austria, Germany and Scandinavian countries, the top destinations for migrants.

The European Union is divided on how to deal with the worse refugee crisis since World War II. Germany, France and Austria are in favour of introducing binding quotas to allocate refugees. Eastern European members like Poland and Hungary are opposed.

By Boris Babic

© 2022 dpa GmbH

You may also like