Monday 16 January 2017

Hungary shuts down rail services to prevent migrants from boarding trains bound for western Europe

David Kearns

Published 01/09/2015 | 09:05

Hungary closed Budapest's main Eastern Railway station this morning, with no trains departing or arriving until further notice Credit: REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh
Hungary closed Budapest's main Eastern Railway station this morning, with no trains departing or arriving until further notice Credit: REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh

Hungary has stopped all trains from leaving Budapest's main train terminal in an effort to prevent migrants from using it to leave for Austria and Germany.

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Scuffles broke out early this morning among as hundreds of migrants pushed towards a platform where a train was scheduled to leave for Vienna and Munich.

Blocking the metal gates leading to the train, police said the measure would be in effect for an undetermined length of time.

Several migrants said they had spent hundreds of euros for tickets to Austria and Germany.

Police in Vienna say 3,650 migrants arrived from Hungary on Monday at the city's Westbahnhof station.

They said most continued on towards to Germany.

Migrants gesture as they stand in the main Eastern Railway station in Budapest Credit: REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh
Migrants gesture as they stand in the main Eastern Railway station in Budapest Credit: REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh

Authorities in Budapest have allowed the migrants, who had been stuck for days in makeshift refugee camps at the city's stations, to board trains for their ultimate destinations in northern Europe.

The trains were stopped at the Austrian border for several hours as part of a security crackdown after the decomposing bodies of 71 migrants, four of them children, were discovered in an abandoned lorry near the Hungarian border last week.

Europe is on the receiving end of the biggest movement of people since World War II, with more than 300,000 arriving this year, many fleeing war, persecution and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.

The escalating crisis has divided the 28-member bloc ahead of fresh emergency talks on September 14, with Western European leaders calling for more efforts to help the new arrivals while countries on its eastern borders say they are struggling to cope.

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