Refugees escape holding center at Röszke, walk along M5

Initiatives

About 500 refugees broke out of the reception and holding center in the southern most Hungarian town of Röszke on the Hungarian border and began walking along the M5 motorway, yesterday afternoon according to reports. 

Police speak with refugees on M5 motorway last night. (Photo:MTI/ Zoltán Gergely Kelemen)

After waiting for days to be taken from the reception centre to the nearby refugee camp, also in Röszke, where they could be registered, refugees began protesting and arguing with police. In the absence of buses, refugees began walking north along the M5 towards Budapest. Police were unable to contain the crowd.

A few buses where eventually sent to pick up the refugees, some of whom were camped out in a nearby field, to take them to the refugee camp, but they did not board the buses and police were unable to make them board. Refugees appear to have developed a distrust of the Hungarian police in light of the past week’s events.

Later in the evening, additional buses were sent out to the M5 and with the help of an interpreter, police were able to relay the message to the refugees that sleeping by the motorway is a crime and could result in deportation. All remaining refugees boarded the buses which took them to the nearby camp.  

According to reports, the reception center at Röszke, which is the first holding area for refugees entering Hungary via Serbia, is essentially a field guarded by police with about five toilets and no other facilities, such as food or water. It was set up to hold refugees until they can be transported to the refugee camp. Hungarian police have often referred to it as an “alien holding center”.

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