Hundreds break past police near Hungary border

2015-09-08 08:20
Migrants are stopped by police after the group broke out from a collection point near Roszke village at the Hungarian-Serbian border. (Csaba Segesvari, AFP)

Migrants are stopped by police after the group broke out from a collection point near Roszke village at the Hungarian-Serbian border. (Csaba Segesvari, AFP)

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Hundreds of angry and frustrated asylum-seekers have broken through police lines near Hungary's southern border with Serbia and began marching north toward Budapest.

Crowds who had grown tired of waiting for buses at Hungary's first refugee holding centre near the border village of Roszke on Monday tore down flimsy police tape, advanced down a country road and walked around rows of police trying to block them.

Officers offered no resistance as about half of the 500-strong crowd reached the M5 highway that connects Serbia and Hungary.

They headed north along the shoulder, raising their arms and chanting "Germany! Germany!"

Police merely walked beside them as a lone helicopter monitored the marchers' progress north as darkness fell. The highway was blocked for nearly 50km as a precaution.

Destination Germany

The move mirrored Friday's surge of people from Budapest toward Austria in a traffic-snarling tactic that forced Hungary to concede defeat and bus thousands to the Austrian border.

Germany's rail company said Monday it had carried 22 000 asylum- seekers over the weekend on more than 100 trains, a number boosted by the fact that Hungary again has dropped visa checks on foreigners buying train tickets for the wealthier countries to the west, particularly Germany.

After an overnight Cabinet meeting, Germany said it would set aside $6.6bn to boost aid for asylum-seekers and hire 3 000 more federal police.

It also planned to make it easier to build refugee housing and for non-German speakers to hold jobs.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel reflected on what she called "a moving, in some parts breathtaking weekend behind us," when Austria and Germany threw open their borders for thousands of asylum-seekers trying to get out of Hungary.

She said all EU countries could help accommodate the families fleeing war and poverty.

Britain and France, seen as less generous than Germany so far, overcame reluctance and stepped up their commitments on Monday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said his country would resettle up to 20 000 Syrians from camps in Turkey, Jordan and Syria over the next five years.

"The whole country has been deeply moved by the heartbreaking images we have seen over the past few days," he told Parliament.

"It is absolutely right that Britain should fulfill its moral responsibility to help those refugees."

French President Francois Hollande said his country would take in 24 000 refugees over the next two years.

Read more on:    hungary  |  migrants

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