26 Aug 2015

Migrant crisis: Hungary sends extra police to border

Hungary says it is sending an extra 2,000 police officers to its border with Serbia, and may dispatch troops, as it seeks to control the record number of migrants arriving in the country.

Police used tear gas to disperse migrants at a camp on the border after Hungary said more than 2,500 people, most of them from Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, crossed the frontier on Monday – the highest daily tally the country has seen this year.

In 2015, 140,000 migrants, many of them asylum seekers, have entered Hungary, most having arrived in Greece and en route to northern and western Europe. The continent is dealing with the most serious refugee crisis it has seen since the Second World War, with the brutal civil war in Syria responsible for much of the misery and displacement.

Hungary has responded by building a 100-mile fence along its southern border in the hope of stemming the flow of people. It is also sending 2,000 police officers, equipped with helicopters, horses and dogs.

Tear gas

Tear gas was used at a reception centre in Roszke where asylum seekers had refused to be fingerprinted because they wanted their claims for refugee status to be decided in European countries where they wanted to settle (watch video above). Germany is the favoured destination.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was booed by anti-immigrant protesters during a visit to a shelter for asylum seekers in Heidenau, near Dresden – the scene of violent clashes at the weekend triggered by the far-right.

Germany expects to receive 800,000 asylum seekers this year, more than any other European country.

Until recently, attention has been largely focused on Italy and Greece, which migrants from the Middle East and Africa have been using as entry points to Europe.