14 asylum seekers in pre-trial custody in Kecskemét

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Fourteen men are being held in pre-trial custody in Kecskemét, southeast of Budapest, on charges of assaulting a police officer as a group, Hungarian news agency MTI reported yesterday. The group comprises five Iraqis, four Afghans, three Iranians, one Syrian and one Algerian the news agency said.

The local district court’s spokesman Szabolcs Sárközy said the charges came following a fight that broke out last Friday at a refugee reception center in Kiskunhalas, approximately 65 kilometers south of Kecskemét, over access to the internet.

According to the spokesman, the fight erupted between two Iraqi men, and when a police officer came to separate the pair, a group standing behind a fence responded by throwing stones and other debris, hitting the officer who was protected from the impact by his helmet. The social workers at the scene were quickly brought to safety when the conflict escalated.

The altercation came to an end after about 30 minutes, when reinforcements where called in and tear gas was used to break up the crowd.

Chief Security Advisor to the Prime Minister György Bakondi said at a press conference on Saturday that 180 police officers were required to restore order at the reception center following the outburst, MTI reported.

Ten of the men have since appealed the court’s decision to keep them in preliminary detention, according to reports.

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