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Migrants storm re-opened Budapest train station

03 september 2015, 15:11
0
Migrant protests between other migrants who sit in front of the Keleti (East) railway station in Budapest. ©AFP
Migrant protests between other migrants who sit in front of the Keleti (East) railway station in Budapest. ©AFP

Several hundred migrants stormed into Budapest's main international train station early Thursday after police re-opened it following a two-day standoff, an AFP reporter said.

The main entrance was re-opened around 08:15 am (0615 GMT) and migrants burst in, rushing towards a standing train on one of the platforms, the AFP reporter said.

In scenes of utter chaos, with the police seemingly entirely absent, hundreds tried to get on board the train, pushing, shoving and fighting with each other to get on.

A public announcement said however that no trains for western Europe would be leaving the Keleti station "for an indefinite period".

"In the interests of rail travel security the company has decide that until further notice, direct train services from Budapest to western Europe will not be in service," Hungarian Railways said in a statement.

Hungary is a key arrival point for tens of thousands of migrants entering the European Union, with some 50,000 entering the country in August alone.

On Monday, Hungary allowed several thousand to board trains bound for Austria and Germany but the following day Keleti station was closed to anyone without an EU passport or a valid visa.

The move left around 2,000 men, women and children stranded around the station or in the underground "transit zone", a makeshift refugee camp beneath the station where thousands have been sheltering on blankets in cramped conditions, looked after only by Hungarian volunteers.  

Over the past two days there have been a number of demonstrations by several hundred of the migrants chanting "Germany! Germany!" and tense standoffs with riot police as well as a number of scuffles.


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