Several migrants remain stranded outside a major railway station in Budapest after they were disallowed from boarding trains to take them from Hungary toward Western Europe.
Government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs emphasized that the move came as part of Hungary’s action to enforce EU law. Just days before, Hungary had permitted migrants from boarding trains without imposing strict migration laws.
Hungary has seen an influx of more than 150,000 arrivals this year, and was calling for sealing off borders to people from Middle East, Asia and Africa. Thousands of people escaping war and persecution have been trying to reach northern Europe to seek asylum.
People headed north after countries like Greece and Italy said they are having a hard time with the number of arrivals they have experienced. An EU rule known as the Dublin Regulation states that migrants can seek asylum in the first EU country they arrive in, as reported by BBC.
Also read: Special Report: More Illegal Immigrants Attempt To Enter UK, Arrests By Dover Police Increase
After several eastern European gangs have been illegally transporting migrants to Austria, Germany and other countries, Human Rights activists said that blocking public transportation could cause a repeat of last week’s incident when 71 people, who had died because of suffocation, were discovered in the back of a truck in the capital of Austria, Vienna.
“There is no logic behind what Hungary is doing: Yesterday they let migrants use the trains, and today they do not,” Gabor Gyulai, refugee program coordinator for a Budapest-based rights group called the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, said.
“By not allowing them to move onward into Europe in a regular manner by buying a ticket, it’s a certainty that this new policy will push them into the hands of smugglers. It is a terrible outcome.”
According to Fox News, the main entrance of the Keleti railway station was blocked off. Non-migrant passengers were admitted after they showed their passports, visas and other national identification. People without the required identification were not sold tickets. The Hungarian Railways said that passengers could only buy tickets for themselves, or for others only when they showed identification of those they are buying tickets for.
“We have been here five days. No food, no sleep — no place to sleep, no anything,” one Syrian refugee said.
Spokeswoman for Keleti train station, Reka Hegedus, said that the station was reopened.
“It was shut this morning with no departures or arrivals for one hour at 9:30 here due to the sheer amount of migrants at the station,” she said. “The problem is the amount of migrants with the wrong papers. Obviously, even if they have tickets, it is not enough.”
To prevent migrants from entering the country, Hungary has been working to erect a barbed-wire fence along its border with Serbia, as reported by CNN.
Last month, several people were stranded between northern Greece and Macedonia. The mass of people rushing in was met with tear gas and stun grenades.
In a statement, Kovacs said, “European regulations require that a person wishing to go on to Austria or Germany, for example, has the necessary documents. People at Budapest’s Keleti railway station demanding to be allowed free passage are demanding something which is not possible under European legislation.”
You might also be interested in: President Obama Will Appear On ‘Running Wild’ With Bear Grylls, Will Trek Through Alaska