Passportless Migrants Protest in Budapest at Hungary’s Travel Ban

World » EU | September 2, 2015, Wednesday // 19:16
Bulgaria: Passportless Migrants Protest in Budapest at Hungary’s Travel Ban Migrants show their train tickets outside the Keleti Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary, 02 September 2015. The station continues to be closed to migrants, other passengers are allowed to enter and trains operate according to schedule. EPA/BGNES

Hundreds of migrants protested in Budapest on Wednesday at Hungary's decision to prevent them from travelling to Germany and other EU member states, the BBC reported.

The protests, now in their second day, have begun after Hungarian authorities banned travel for migrants without valid documents in order to comply with EU rules.

As a result of the ban some 2,000 people, who have bought tickets for onward journeys to western Europe, have been camping at Budapest's Keleti train station. There are families with children among them. The migrants had reached Budapest via the so-called Balkan route, travelling across Turkey, the Aegean Sea and Greece, Macedonia and Serbia.

"A train ticket does not overwrite EU rules," Reuters quoted a Hungarian government spokesman as saying.

Shouting "Freedom, freedom!" and demanding to be let onto trains leaving for Germany, about 300 migrants stared down police in riot gear on one side of Keleti station.

Only people with passports were allowed to board the trains.

On Thursday, Hungary's parliament is expected to vote on government proposals that tighten border controls, allowing for the limited use of the army, and set up new holding camps for migrants.

Germany has begun accepting asylum claims from Syrian refugees - regardless of where they entered the European Union. Most migrans who have already reached Hungary, say they want to go to Germany.

The closing of Keleti train station to undocumented migrants has already led to a sharp drop in migrant arrivals to Germany from Hungary, Deutsche Welle reported, citing police data. Just about 50 migrants arrived on the morning trains to Munich from Budapest on Wednesday morning, a negligible number compared to 2,400 on Tuesday.

Hungary briefly allowed migrants to board trains bound for Germany and Austria on Monday.

Police in Austria rescued 24 Afghan migrants, most of them in their teens, discovered in the back of a van near Vienna overnight.

The dead bodies of 71 migrants were found in an abandoned refrigerated truck on a motorway in Austria last week.

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Tags:   Hungary, Budapest, Keleti, train, station, Germany, migrants, passports, camps, Afghan, van, Syrian  
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