BBC Migrant crisis: Hungary migrants start walk to border

Hundreds of migrants stuck at a Budapest railway station for days have set off on foot, saying they intend to walk to Austria.

Hungarian authorities are trying to contain thousands of people desperate to reach western Europe.

Meanwhile European Union states are struggling to agree a common strategy to deal with the crisis.

The Hungarian, Czech, Slovakian and Polish prime ministers have rejected quotas for EU nations.

In a statement the leaders rejected “any proposal leading to introduction of mandatory and permanent quota for solidarity measures”.

The head of the UN refugee agency said EU nations must mobilise “full force” and accept up to 200,000 refugees.

The chaotic scenes in Hungary – a main transit country for those seeking to claim asylum in Germany and other countries in north and west Europe – have continued for another day:

  • A large number – some estimate over a thousand – of migrants who had been waiting days at Budapest’s Keleti station have left and plan to walk to Vienna, in the absence of trains, a journey of 240km (150 miles)
  • There were clashes at Keleti station on Thursday afternoon after far-right extremists threw two firecrackers towards migrants, sparking an angry response
  • A stand-off between police and passengers on a train held at Bicske station continues, as the people on board are refusing to go to a transit camp to be processed. Riot police have been seen entering the station, and police have formed a corridor to a waiting bus. A large group of migrants have escaped from the train and are walking along the train tracks
  • Hundreds of people have broken out of a refugee camp at Roszke near the Serbian border and are being pursued by police; thousands more still inside are threatening to break out too

Live updates on the crisis

Under EU regulations, anyone wishing to seek asylum must do so in the first EU country they reach.

But many of those who have arrived in Hungary do not wish to be registered there because it is more likely to send migrants back, and has a relatively small population and economy.

Why are so many people on the move?

EU countries are under pressure as a surge of migrants from the Middle East and Africa seek to escape war and oppression. Italy, Greece and Hungary, on the the EU’s borders, are under particular pressure.

Where are they coming from?

Syrians make up the largest group by nationality followed by Afghans and Eritreans.

Why are people fleeing Syria?

An uprising against President Bashar al-Assad erupted in March 2011, since when the country has since descended into a complex civil war. More than 240,000 people have been killed, and around half Syria’s pre-war population have fled their homes.


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