After Hungarian stay, migrants reach Austria, move on to Germany

2015-09-05 12:23
Refugees arrive at Vienna's Westbound Railway Station after days stuck in Hungary. (Roland Schlager, DPA)

Refugees arrive at Vienna's Westbound Railway Station after days stuck in Hungary. (Roland Schlager, DPA)

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Nickelsdorf - Austria on Saturday began receiving migrants at its border after they had suffered days of ordeal in Hungary, with many of them immediately beginning onward journeys to Germany.

One train had already left from Nickelsdorf for Salzburg, on the German border 300km west, a spokesperson for the Austrian railway company, Sonja Horner, told dpa.

The migrants, mostly Syrian refugees who said they want to seek shelter in Germany, will receive initial care in Salzburg.

Around 3 000 people have arrived in Nickelsdorf so far, the Austrian news agency APA said quoting police. More were streaming toward the border on foot, after being brought to the border in buses.

"We are expecting 17, 18 double-decker buses," regional police chief Hans Peter Doskonzil told APA. "I'm standing directly on the border to Hungary and looking town at the stream of people coming up. It's showing no signs of letting up."

It was unclear how many trains will be required for all the people, Horner said.

The migrants, 99% of whom arrived via the Balkan Route from Turkey, across Greece, Macedonia and Serbia, were stranded in Hungary over the past week, as Budapest attempted to block them from travelling further west.

Thousands stranded

Thousands were blocked at the Budapest Keleti train station. Other groups were held in migrant collecting centres. Another large group spent two days on a station near the capital after police stopped their train.

On the border with Serbia, frustrated by the slow registration process, hundreds broke out of a collecting centre and scattered across the fields and along the highway.

Most refused to cooperate and allow Hungarian authorities to identify them, because under EU rules asylum seekers must wait out the procedure in the first country that registers them.

A group of around 1 000 broke off from the crowd in Budapest on Friday afternoon and began walking along the highway toward Austria, 170km away.

In a surprise turnaround, the Hungarian government said on Friday night that it will offer the migrants bus rides to the Austrian border. The first bus, with people picked up from the group trekking along the highway, arrived around 02:00.

Read more on:    germany  |  serbia  |  hungary  |  austria  |  migrants

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