Hungary razor wire no hurdle for migrants

2015-08-29 09:03
A refugee sits in front of a police cordon near the Serbian border in Roszke. (AP)

A refugee sits in front of a police cordon near the Serbian border in Roszke. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Rszke - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has vaunted the razor-wire fence being laid along the Serbian border as the only answer to stop tens of thousands of migrants from getting in.

But a visit by AFP made clear that for people hardened by war in their home countries, treacherous journeys across the Mediterranean and trekking hundreds of miles, Orban is going to have to try harder.

"We fear neither the Hungarian police, nor the fence," Nasreen, a 29-year-old Syrian woman, told AFP after scrambling through the fence from Serbia and heading off into the safety of the European Union.

"It's nothing compared to what we have been through in Syria," she said.

"The country has been destroyed, we have faced bombs, assassinations, blood, and deaths on a daily basis."

Clad in jumpers despite the late-summer heat, she says the extra layers will help once the nights get colder as they go north from Hungary towards the holy grail of Germany or Sweden.

A 25 year-old IT expert from Iraq, trying to make it to Belgium where he has family, was similarly unfased by the three rolls of razor wire.

"I don't care about fences or about police. I have money, I will find a taxi," he said, not wanting to give his name.

On Wednesday alone, a record 3 000 people were registered as crossing through by the Hungarian authorities, including 700 children.

Just days before, the daily average was between 1 000 and 1 500 - a huge leap from the 250-500 registered in the first half of the year. So far this year, more than 140 000 have crossed.

At the border, it almost seems as if the Hungarian troops, which are building the fence, have left out their long measuring rods deliberately.

The refugees use them to lift up the lower part of the fence, which is a lot safer than trying to cut through the nasty-looking rolls of wire.

On Thursday morning, a steady flow of mostly Syrian and Afghan families clambered under the razor-wire in clear sight near the border town of Roszke.

As the wire is held up by one man, a child gets her hair stuck in the barbs, screaming until her mother frees her, with the young family dashing into the adjacent forest.

In the rush to make it through, pushchairs, rucksacks, blankets, even clothes have been abandoned at regular intervals along the border.


None of the refugees who spoke to AFP said they wanted to stay in Hungary despite it being in the European Union. Instead they want to travel on to western Europe.

"Germany! Germany!" cries an Afghan teenager aged around 15 in a filthy pink pullover and jeans who is roasting a cob of corn over a makeshift fire.

With piercing blue eyes that contrast with his sunburnt skin after weeks on the road, these are practically the only words of English he knows.

"I want to go to Germany, there are jobs opportunities there, the healthcare is good and accessible to everyone," said Kasim, a 35 year-old maths teacher from Iraq.

He has been travelling for several months now, via Egypt where he couldn't find work, and Turkey where he says he met only hostility.

"So I decided to move to Europe," he said.

The majority want to avoid the police, fearing their fingerprints will be taken, and that they might end up being expelled from their desired destination -- typically Germany.

"Will they send us back if we refuse to give our fingerprints?" asks Ilar from Bangladesh.

They are even given tips on the Serbian side.

A few hundred metres away, a young Serbian policewoman gives directions to refugees, pointing to where families can cross without risk of injury via the still-open railway line.

Once across, the Hungarian police shepherd them toward a roadside meeting point beside the maize fields, where buses roll up to take them to a nearby registration centre, on the next short leg of their tortuous road north.

Read more on:    germany  |  hungary  |  migrants

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.