Deplorable Treatment of Refugees in Hungary

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Refugees in Austria are greeted with warm welcomes and Czech Republic now says it will no longer detain Syrian refugees citing ‘ineffective’ European asylum rules. However, Hungary is taking a heavy-handed approach, causing massive bottlenecks and unnecessary distress among the exhausted refugees who are trying to travel west to safe havens in Germany where they are being taken in by the thousands.

Chaos in Keleti

More than 2000 refugees have been stranded at the Keleti train station in Budapest for 2 days. After much confusion, the station was finally re-opened this morning. Several thousand refugees rushed to board trains which they thought were headed to the Austrian border.

VIDEO Hungary: Refugees scramble to board westbound trains as Keleti station reopens

Those who boarded the trains were under the impression they would be traveling on international trains but they were instead boarded onto domestic trains that stopped in Bicske, Hungary, near a refugee camp where a standoff has been taking place for the past 14 hours.

Protests in Bicske

Dramatic photos and video emerged this morning of a man, his wife and young child laying on the Bicske station tracks in protest and refusing to be taken to the Bicske refugee camp.

VIDEO: Refugee track Protest

ITV News Europe editor, James Mates, is one of several journalists who have been live-tweeting the disturbing scenes from Bicske today. He tweeted that police told him the couple and baby who “lay in despair on the tracks” were taken to the police station but he did not know if they were still there.

Hungarian police tried to force refugees to go to the Bicske “open camp” but refugees have been protesting all day and refusing to move. They say they were tricked into going to the camp, they don’t trust Hungary and some are refusing food and water.

Journalist Nabih Bulos reporting on assignment for the New York Times tweeted from inside a train in Bicske all day.

Midday he reported that refugees were told to get off the train and go to the refugee camp in Bicske to be registered to apply for asylum, otherwise they would be liable to get arrested. Authorities stressed Bicske is an “open camp” and asked for cooperation but refugees said:

“We won’t get off train. You’re all liars and thieves.”

Refugees refusing to leave trains in Bicske were also threatened that if they resisted arrest and made trouble, they would be prosecuted and asylum request for all of Europe denied.

Some refused water and food in protest, most refused to leave the trains and platforms.

The protests are still ongoing in Bicske and expected to last through the night.

Horrors in Debrecen Camp

Reporter Mohamed Amjahid from Tagesspiegel tweeted horrifying first hand accounts from refugees arriving in Budapest from Debrecen refugee camp. Some of his tweets are translated below:

“Just talking to refugees who arrived in #Budapest fresh from the warehouse in #Debrecen. There are disturbing reports:”

Migszol Csoport has created a map of all refugee facilities in Hungary. The map lists the following description of the refugee camp in Debrecen:

“The Debrecen camp is perhaps the best known camp in the country due to its size and the fact that there is both a very big open camp as well as a detention centre within. Currently, the camp is being renovated to have even more capacity. This camp is notorious for problems such as overcrowding, poor food and poor hygiene – also the extreme right wing party Jobbik, that is very strong in this 2nd biggest Hungarian city, has organized many demonstrations against the Debrecen camp.”

Tear Gassed at Serbian Border

A team of New York Times journalists documenting the current crisis in Europe filmed a group of refugees, families with young children who were tear gassed by Hungarian police as they approached the border via Serbia.

VIDEO: Refugees Sprayed on Hungarian-Serbian Border

“Family! Children!” cried one of the men in English to the police, before turning to his companions and saying: “All right everyone, all together now, say ‘please.’ Maybe they will accept if we don’t say anything else. Just ‘please.’”

“Kill me, kill me now,” shouted one man.

“My little love can’t open his eyes,” said the mother in the bonnet as she looked at her child, the pitch of her voice modulated by a mix of baby talk and rage.

“He gestured for me to come before he sprayed me and my baby, the low-life,” she continued.

The NYT report stated that the Hungarian police have not responded to a request for comment.

Thousands Still Stranded in Budapest

Meanwhile thousands of refugees are still stranded at Keleti station in Budapest. People are terrified of being sent to refugee camps for obvious reasons but trains leaving Keleti station to western Europe are currently canceled.

VIDEO: Refugees at Keleti Station part1

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees released a video and statements requesting that Hungary provide refugees with “proper reception” or let people go.

VIDEO: Hungary: Stranded in Budapest

Refugee Convoy

A refugee convoy is being organized by activists to take refugees out of Hungary. You can follow #refugeeconvoy for information and check the facebook event for details.

We will continue to monitor all situations in Hungary as information develops.

About Author

Erin Gallagher is a multimedia artist, translator and writer for Revolution News.