Hungary Rail Station Closure Sparks Protests

Hungary Rail Station Closure Sparks ProtestsHungary Rail Station Closure Sparks Protests

Hundreds of angry migrants demonstrated outside Budapest’s Eastern Railway Terminus on Tuesday demanding they be allowed to travel on to Germany, as European Union asylum rules came close to collapse under the strain of unprecedented migration.

Around 1,000 people waved tickets, booing and hissing outside the station. Later they sat down, staring at a police blockade erected at the entrance, Reuters reported. Hungarian authorities closed the train station altogether, then reopened it but barred entry to the migrants. About 100 police in helmets and wielding batons guarded the station. Dozens of migrants who were inside were forced out.

The decision to bar the migrants from westbound trains was a reversal from the previous day, when Hungary and Austria let trainloads of undocumented migrants leave for Germany, a violation of EU rules they now have little power to enforce.

The arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants has confounded Europe, which has eliminated border controls for travel between 26 countries of its Schengen area but requires those seeking asylum to remain in the country where they first arrive until their applications are processed. Hungary is on a major overland transit route from the Middle East and Africa through Greece and the Balkans to Germany. More than 140,000 people have crossed into Hungary from Serbia this year alone.

European leaders want the EU to do more to organize the unprecedented influx, help separate those deserving asylum from those who can be safely sent home and share the burden of accepting them across the 28-nation bloc.

For now, however, there is no mechanism in place to distribute refugees or to enforce the so-called “Dublin rules,” which require asylum seekers to apply in the first EU country where they arrive.