Saturday 22 October 2016

Watch: Migrants scramble for thrown food as police feed families 'like animals in a pen'

Published 11/09/2015 | 10:33

Disturbing footage has emerged of the way migrants are being treated inside Hungary's main refugee camp on the border with Serbia, with images showing families fed "like animals in a pen".

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The video, shot secretly by an Austrian volunteer who visited the flashpoint Roszke camp on Wednesday, shows some 150 people wildly scrambling for bags of sandwiches thrown at them by Hungarian police wearing helmets and hygiene masks in a fenced-in enclosure inside a big hall.

Women and children were caught in the chaotic scrum as hungry people frantically tried to catch the bread flying through the air.

Many migrants too far back in the crowd climbed onto the fence, waving and shouting to get the officers' attention.

"It was like animals being fed in a pen, like Guantanamo in Europe," said Alexander Spritzendorfer, whose wife, Michaela filmed the scenes, referring to the notorious prison camp where the US is accused of torturing inmates.

He told AFP they had driven to Roszke to bring food, clothes and medication to help the thousands of refugees pouring over the border.

Read more: Refugees undeterred by torrential rain and police cordons in Hungary

While Spritzendorfer - a Vienna councillor with Austria's Green Party - was talking to a Red Cross worker, his wife watched the scene unfold in the pen and decided to film it.

"It was inhumane and it really speaks for these people that they didn't fight over the food despite being clearly very hungry," Michaela Spritzendorfer said.

The footage, which was uploaded on YouTube late on Thursday and widely shared on social media networks, had more than 20,000 views by Friday morning.

The UN's refugee agency criticised the dire conditions at the Roszke camp earlier this week, with Hungary's hardline stance against migrants also angering other EU countries.

Harsh laws which could see migrants jailed for crossing its borders are due to come into force on Tuesday.

Hungary's right-wing government in late August completed a razor-wire barrier along its 175-kilometre border with Serbia but it is not proving to be much of an obstacle for desperate people fleeing war in Syria and Iraq.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban has however ordered the building of an additional four-metre high fence that he wants completed by the end of October.

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