Refugees break police cordon and march towards Budapest on wrong side of the motorway

Author: Zoltan Cservenak Original title: Áttörtek a rendőrökön, szembesávban mennek a menekültek az M5-ön 
Publication: vs.hu Date: 07/09/2015

Refugees break police cordon and march towards Budapest on wrong side of the motorway

As tension mounted at the first detention point of the Röszke camp, police started escorting groups of refugees to registration points Monday afternoon. When refugees realized that they weren’t being taken to Budapest they started a sitting strike. Later they broke through the police cordon and ran out onto the highway. Currently there are about 130 people marching for Budapest.

Since refugees broke out of the Röszke refugee camp several times on Monday, police decided to take a different approach at around 6 PM and started escorting them on foot towards the registration points, according to our reporter on site.

150 policemen accompanied 500-600 migrants on what was to be a 500 meter distance. Refugees were euphoric at first, shouting and chanting “Budapest, Budapest”! At a signposted roundabout about halfway to registration points, but they soon realized they weren’t taking the road to Budapest. At this point, the refugees sat on the ground and refused to move. Another part of their group started walking back to the detention centre.

After a while about 150 refugees started to walk towards Budapest. The policemen stood in their way amid calls of “We’re not enough! Not enough!” and “Single row! Single row!”. Migrants tried breaking the line police couldn’t stand against them for very long.

According to news site delmagyar.hu teargas and batons were also used. Chaos reigned in the area.

Half the crowd stayed at the roundabout but many started running, later walking along highway M5. They were on the southbound side of the highway, so they walked against the traffic. About 30 policemen attempted to stray them.

Police used loudspeakers to communicate in English and Arabic with the people at the roundabout, trying to convince them to register at the Röszke camp in order to be able to get to Germany. They seem to have prevented continuing with the sitting strikes for the time being.

According to information received, there is a police cordon waiting for those on the highway further up the road, probably at Petőfiszállás junction. According to an unconfirmed police statement the highway is closed to Petőfiszállás but no other sources seem to support this.

According to information on szegedma.hu, police backup is on its way and even a chopper was seen to circle above the area.

According to the news site, Index police dispatched busses for the refugees who stopped but refused to get in the vehicles because they wanted to go to Budapest, not back to the detention

centre. Police officers tried to convince them otherwise, arguing that getting to Budapest would take three days on foot, a time in which they could easily register and travel to Budapest. The refugees were reluctant to believe them.

According to the Hungarian news agency MTI those walking are calm but starting to tire. They stopped to rest twice so far. Only about a dozen refugees decided to obey police instructions and got into the busses which started back to Röszke with them. The rest, about 130 people keep marching on towards the capital.

The original tension was mainly due to the fact that refugees were transported by busses on the 500 meter distance between the detention point and the registration points, slowing the procedure and some refugees had to spent over 24 hours at the first detention point. This eventually proved to be the final straw.

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