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Hungary PM defends police handling of 'rebel' migrants

12 september 2015, 11:37
0

Prime Minister Viktor Orban defended Hungarian police Friday against accusations of maltreating refugees, saying the migrants had "rebelled" against Hungarian law, AFP reports.

On several occasions this week migrants have pushed through police cordons at a collection point at the Serbian border, and also broken out of a nearby registration camp.  

"They don't want to cooperate with the authorities, in fact they have rebelled against Hungarian law," Orban said at a press conference in Budapest.

Migrants have complained to reporters about long delays in the registration process, the requirement by the authorities to give fingerprints, as well as poor living conditions inside the camp at Roszke. 

The chant of "No camp! No camp!" was heard by journalists earlier this week before hundreds of migrants broke out of the Roszke facility in a bid to walk to Budapest.

"They don't give fingerprints, they don't want to go to places where they are looked after, where there is food, water, medical care," Orban told reporters.

Police have fired tear gas several times in the past month to quell disturbances, but Orban said they had shown restraint. 

"In few countries would police have refrained from using force to handle such rebellions," Orban said. "I raise my hat to them," he added.

He declined to comment however on disturbing video footage of the way migrants are being treated inside the Roszke camp.

The footage, shot secretly by an Austrian volunteer and widely distributed on social media, showed some 150 people scrambling for bags of sandwiches thrown at them by police wearing helmets and hygiene masks in a fenced-in enclosure inside a big hall.

One volunteer described the scene as "like animals being fed in a pen".

An enquiry into the incident had been ordered, a police spokesperson told AFP Friday.

Orban meanwhile stood firm on the implementation of harsh new laws which could see migrants jailed for entering Hungary starting Tuesday.

"From September 15, the rules are changing in Hungary, if you cross the border illegally, you will be immediately arrested by the authorities, the authorities will not have a choice," he said.


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