Hungarian authorities have blocked refugees from entering Budapest’s main train terminal in an attempt to prevent them from heading towards Austria and Germany, despite letting others travel onwards a day earlier.
About 1,000 people were gathered outside the capital’s main international railway station on Tuesday morning, with many heard shouting “Germany, Germany” – where they are hoping to travel.
Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons, reporting from the rail station, said long lines of police were blocking all access to the station for refugees, adding that a few residents and tourists were allowed to enter.
“The crowd is angry and frustrated. They are sitting down, tired and desperate. Many have bought tickets for their families at large costs … not knowing if they will ever use [them],” Simmons said.
Before being blocked from access to trains, thousands of refugees made it to Vienna and Munich over the past few days.
Police in Vienna said 3,650 refugees had reached the city on Monday, representing a new daily record.
Austrian authorities appeared to have given up on trying to apply European Union rules by filtering out refugees who had already claimed asylum in Hungary, train passengers said.
‘Germany, thank you!’
Many of the refugees arriving in Vienna’s railway station on Monday evening immediately raced to board trains heading on to Germany, as policemen looked on passively, preferring not to intervene, witnesses said.
Refugees cheered and chanted “Germany, thank you!” as they saw a welcome sign held up by local people at Munich Central Station late on Monday.
Police said some 500 refugees, mainly from the Middle East, were on the train. They were to be transported by bus to camps where they will be registered.
Germany has taken in more asylum seekers than any other European Union country. German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called for other EU nations to do more to help deal with this year’s influx of refugees.
Hungary, the gateway to the EU from Eastern Europe, is hoping to finish erecting a 175km razor-wire fence along its border with Serbia to stop refugees from crossing into the country.
The move was heavily criticised by France, whose foreign minister said his country would not even use such a barrier for animals.
EU countries will hold an emergency meeting on September 14 to discuss the refugee crisis.
The number of refugees reaching the EU’s borders reached nearly 340,000 during the first seven months of the year, up from 123,500 during the same period in 2014, according to the bloc’s border agency Frontex.
The majority of these refugees were fleeing the raging conflicts in the Middle East.