Thousands of refugees arrive at Austrian border, start boarding trains to Vienna, Salzburg

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Around 6,500 refugees have arrived from Hungary to the border with Austria, according to the Interior Minister. Some 2,200 were on their way to Germany as of 12:00GMT. Hundreds more could be seen at the Budapest station, with no concrete plan of action in sight.

Some of the refugees have started boarding a train provided by the Austrian authorities. It was reported earlier they were sending two trains to pick up refugees - one will bring them to Salzburg and the other to Vienna.

"Our biggest problem is that the Hungarians - after checking back with Budapest - are refusing to let our buses enter their territory and pick up the refugees," Hans Peter Doskozil, chief of the police in the Austrian province of Burgenland, told Reuters.

"We offered them that they can bring the refugees directly to the trains, or to the shelter (on the Austrian side), but they just stop the buses on the Hungarian side, everyone has to get off in the rain," he added.

But some people have reportedly been causing a situation in Hungary. “Refugees and migrants who have been stuck in Hungary became more and more aggressive, refusing cooperation with Hungarian authorities, not wiling to be registered… fingerprinted… photographed,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told reporters.

“They have refused to go into refugee stations, they started to march [on] the most important highway of the country, and the most important rail line… so, an emergency situation has occurred,” he added.

Law enforcement expects the number of refugees to more than double during the day. By midday GMT, some 6,500 refugees had already reached Austria, of which 2,200 are now on their way to Germany, Asutrain Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner told Reuters.

Hungary organized a corridor from Budapest to the Austrian border on Friday night, deploying over one hundred buses to clear refugee camps in the capital and pick up hundreds of asylum seekers traveling the main highway towards Vienna.

Exhausted families were happy to leave Budapest on their way to a “new life,” while the Austrian Red Cross prepared to host, feed and shelter thousands of new arrivals at their border reception center. But as hundreds were leaving for Austria, hundreds more could be seen squatting and sleeping rough at the Budapest terminal. The future of these new arrivals remains undecided.

Berlin appears to have overstated its intentions earlier, as some centers in the capital prove to be struggling with the sheer number of new arrivals. Volunteers looked to be the only force to manage the situation at times.

Some politicians are speaking out against the message of hope the EU has been sending the refugees.

"We have sent very bad signals to these migrants," MEP Aymeric Chauprade of the National Front Party told RT. "We said from the beginning that we accept all these people... This is absolutely stupid, and the result is that now, we have a very huge wave of migrants. And it's a disaster for the future of Europe, regarding demography and statistics of migrants...", he added, as hundreds more were arriving to Germany through Munich.

According to a police spokesman, some 450 new arrivals could be seen in the early afternoon at the southern-German terminal, with a city train waiting to escort them to registration centers nearby, according to Reuters.

Despite the unfolding chaos, a number of European politicians continues to be in favor of a humane approach to the crisis that emphasises rights and dignity - the underlying principles Europe believes in.

“Our answer must be in line with our history and our values, in line with what Europe is about,” Europe's Economic Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said on Friday in Turkey, following Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Thursday statements regarding the future of Christianity in Europe.

“To be European means to care about humanity and to care about human rights.

“When the world and Europe face such a drama, the answer should never be nationalistic. Never to close borders, never to renounce our values. Never,” the impassioned Moscovici added.



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