Denmark suspends train services with Germany as migrants push north

2015-09-09 19:00
(Csaba Segesvari, AFP)

(Csaba Segesvari, AFP)

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Stockholm - Denmark indefinitely suspended train service with Germany on Wednesday, the Danish railway company DSB told dpa, as the country tries to come to terms with a crush of refugees and migrants.

The move comes after police had already halted services earlier in the day in a bid to register an influx of asylum seekers and migrants wanting to transit to Sweden and unwilling to co-operate with Danish authorities for fear of being taken to processing centres there.

Police said about 200 people at the port of Rodby in Lolland have refused to leave two trains or be taken to Danish reception centres, asking instead to continue to Sweden where they have family or friends.

Germany and Sweden have been among the top destinations for those seeking to file asylum applications, while Denmark has in recent years introduced tougher restrictions.

The Danish parliament last week approved cutting welfare benefits to newly arrived refugees as part of the government's bid to make Denmark less attractive for asylum seekers.

On Monday, the Danish government placed advertisements in three Lebanese papers detailing the measures.

The minority government of Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and his centre-right liberals won support for the moves from, among others, the far-right populist Danish People's Party, which forms part of the government's parliamentary base.

Police said they hoped a dialogue could resolve the stand-off in Rodby, where a sports hall and schools have been used to offer the migrants temporary shelter. Local residents have also donated food and clothes.

Denmark has said the migrants will be registered or else returned to Germany.

Police tweeted at midday that as many as 30 people had rushed off one of the Rodby trains, but most had been rounded up again.

In the southern border town of Padborg, a section of the E45 motorway was closed as about 300 people were seen walking along it, having apparently slipped past police cordons.

About 100 people arrived in Padborg overnight.

Since Sunday, at least 1 500 people have arrived from Germany as  part of large groups of people seeking refuge in Europe, many fleeing conflict in Syria and Iraq.

The Danish government earlier this week hoped for a deal with Sweden to allow people to transit to Sweden, but Stockholm has ruled that out.

The Swedish Migration Agency reviews cases individually when they are made in Sweden in accordance with international conventions, a Justice Ministry spokesman told dpa. He added that the government cannot enter into a separate agreement with Denmark.

Justice Minister Morgan Johansson was expected Wednesday to outline the Swedish position in a telephone conversation with Danish Integration Minister Inger Stojberg.

Read more on:    denmark  |  migrants

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