11 Sep 2015

Hungary to clamp down on illegal border crossings

Hungary’s leader Viktor Orban has today said “rebellious” migrants and refugees will face arrest from next week.

Migrants in Hungary

Viktor Orban’s comments come after the surfacing of a video featuring crowds scrambling for food in a border camp, as police in surgical masks threw them packs of sandwiches.

Police in Hungary have said they have launched an investigation into the scenes that allegedly took place at a reception centre for refugees and migrants in Roszke on Hungary’s southern border.

The video was uploaded on the YouTube channel of Austrian politician Alexander Spritzendorfer, and was taken by his wife, Michaela Spritzendorfer-Ehrenhauser, who works for the Austrian Catholic diocese of Sankt Poelten.

“It was around 8 o’clock and they were giving dinner to people,” Spritzendorfer-Ehrenhauser told Reuters.

“There were maybe 100 people trying to catch these plastic bags … They were not able to organise a camp and treat them like human beings.”

Peter Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch’s Emergencies Director, said:

“The detainees at Roszke are held in filthy, overcrowded conditions, hungry and lacking medical care.”

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Hungarian police feed refugees “like animals”

“Like animals being fed in a pen, like Guantanamo in Europe.”Footage has emerged of police in Hungary throwing food at refugees in a reception centre on the border with Hungary. The activist whose wife filmed the scene described conditions as “inhumane.” Our reporter Fatima Manji has been on the border: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z57TZdcqaac

Posted by Channel 4 News on Friday, 11 September 2015

Clamp down

Conversely, Orban praised the police for their “remarkable” response and aims to complete a fence along the length of Hungary’s southern frontier with Serbia next month. Government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs also defended the video, saying the footage showed policemen trying to maintain order among those “unable to line up for food”.

Orban has vowed to clamp down on illegal border crossings with new laws that come into effect 15 September and warned those who try to cross illegally would face arrest.

“Considering that we are facing a rebellion by illegal migrants, police have done their job in a remarkable way, without using force,” Orban told reporters after a meeting with Manfred Weber, chairman of the European People’s Party group in the European Parliament.

“They seized railway stations, rejected giving fingerprints, failed to cooperate and are unwilling to go to places where they would get food, water, accommodation and medical care… They rebelled against Hungary’s legal order.”

“From the 15th, Hungarian authorities cannot be forgiving of illegal border crossing,”

Refugee crisis: the end of innocence in Hungary - watch now

From Tuesday, authorities will begin receiving and processing asylum requests at the border and transport applicants by bus to camps elsewhere in the country.

Those who do not cooperate are to be kept at the border and those who cross illegally face arrest and possible imprisonment.

Hungarian police in masks