News Daily Spot: Refugees scramble for ways into Europe as Hungary seals borders

more news

Refugees scramble for ways into Europe as Hungary seals borders

Source: TheGuardian
For a few fleeting minutes, there was some humanity in the darkness. It had turned midnight on the Serbian side of the Hungarian border, the time that Hungary had said it would close its borders for the final time to refugees. A fortified border fence had finally been finished. At the fence’s weakest point, where refugees had for weeks walked into Hungary along a set of disused railway tracks, police had blocked the way with the carriage of a freight train.
Yet even after the clock struck 12, Hungary seemed to soften, letting a few hundred stragglers enter its territory via a legal foot-crossing that lies in Horgos, a mile to the west of those train tracks. At 10 minutes past midnight, there were still families running, limping and panting up the road that leads to the border gate. More than 160,000 people had crossed this line so far this year and no one wanted to be the first to be turned away.
“I’m hoping, hoping, hoping,” said Badr, a 47-year-old Syrian engineer, as he neared the final stretch. “We lost everything in Syria – homes, friends, and family. We need to pass through this border.”

So began a day in which Fortress Europe began to pull up the few drawbridges still open. First Hungary blocked its southern border with Serbia, putting into action its much-heralded fence, declaring a state of emergency in two southern counties, and arresting dozens of people for attempting to cross the border under new laws unveiled last week by the prime minister, Viktor Orb├ín.
Next Hungary announced plans to seal its border with Romania, a move denounced as “not a fair gesture” by the foreign ministry in Bucharest. ThenSerbia warned it could not become the dumping ground for Europe’s refugees – or, as its foreign minister put it, “a collection centre”. And finally Austria introduced security checks along its border with Hungary, a measure it said could be extended to those with Slovenia, Italy and Slovakia if needed.

click here