Refugees shout ‘no camps’ during Hungary train standoff

Hundreds of refugees, mainly Syrians and Afghans, remain on a train in Bicske, refusing to go to a refugee centre.

Hungary train refugees Al Jazeera
Most refugees are trying to leave Hungary to continue their journey to Austria or Germany [Mohammed Jamjoom/Al Jazeera]

A standoff at a train station between refugees and Hungarian riot police continues for a second day as hundreds refuse to go to a refugee centre.

Mainly Syrian and Afghan refugees on Friday remain on and around a train in the town of Bicske which is located 30km west of Budapest.

“They want to go to other countries, particularly Germany. They do not want to stay in Hungary,” Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Jamjoom reported from the scene of the standoff.

“They are shouting ‘No food, no water’ as they are in need of supplies. They are also holding signs saying, ‘No camp, no Hungary, freedom train’,” our correspondent said.

Meanwhile, Hungarian police said on Friday that they temporarily shut the Roszke border crossing with Serbia, after 300 migrants escaped from a nearby refugee camp.

OPINION: Europe’s policy did not kill Aylan Kurdi

Separately, hundreds of migrants have started walking from Budapest’s eastern railway station, saying they are heading to Austria, a Reuters news agency photographer reported from the station.

Calls for a unified European response to the refugee crisis are growing stronger, as the Budapest government stays in defence of Hungary’s response to the surge in refugees trying to enter the country.

The parliament in Hungary is scheduled to meet on Friday and Monday in two sessions to discuss new laws on migrants and refugees.

Inside Story – Refugees and Europe’s dilemma

The EU’s foreign ministers are also holding talks in Luxembourg, where the refugee crisis is high on the agenda.

Hungary has been widely criticised for its way of handling the flow of refugees to Europe.

A fence on the border with Serbia is one of several measures under way to make it more difficult for refugees to enter and stay in Hungary. 

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Thursday that his country did not want to take in large numbers of Muslims.

“I think we have a right to decide that we do not want a large number of Muslim people in our country,” Orban told journalists outside the EU headquarters in Brussels.

Europe is facing a huge influx on all sides, with more than 350,000 people crossing the Mediterranean in flimsy boats this year alone, according to the International Organization for Migration.


Meanwhile, the head of the UN refugee agency, Antonio Guterres, said the EU’s response to the refugee crisis will be a “defining moment” for the bloc, warning that a divided EU would benefit only smugglers and traffickers.

The EU needs to help more refugees enter legally, provide about 200,000 relocation places, according to a preliminary estimate, and support countries under pressure such as Greece, Hungary and Italy, he said in a statement on Friday.

Refugees on Friday remain on and around a train in the town of Bicske [Al Jazeera]
Refugees on Friday remain on and around a train in the town of Bicske [Al Jazeera]