Upset migrants chanted “Freedom! Freedom!” demanding to use their train tickets, hoping to board trains to Germany and Austria on Tuesday after Hungary suspended all rail traffic from its main terminal in Budapest, in what has become a transit zone and place of refuge for those fleeing Syria’s war and other countries of unrest. Hundreds of passengers with travel documents and tickets remained in the station, some staring at information boards still showing arrival and departure times.
Authorities announced over station loudspeakers that all trains would be stopped from leaving for an indefinite period. Migrants’ papers were checked, and those with train tickets but no EU visas were ushered out of the station.
Scuffles quickly followed, as some of the hundreds of migrants pushed toward metal gates at the platform where trains were set to leave for Vienna and Munich following a police blockade.
According to the International Organization for Migration, Europe has been overwhelmed by a surge of migrants, with over 332,000 arriving so far this year; many European nations disagreeing on how best to handle the influx of people. Germany’s more flexible stance on asylum seekers was a major contributing factor to the upheaval on Tuesday; however, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary have all dealt with the issue as well.
Following the incident on Tuesday, as well as the drownings of hundreds asylum seekers in capsized boats, and the bodies of 71 people found locked in the back of a truck on the Budapest-Vienna highway, an emergency meeting was called for Sept. 14 to discuss the migrant crisis
Trouble at the train stations caused delays on the highways as Austrian authorities created stricter border controls at main crossings from Hungary. The traffic news agency, Utinform, said vehicles at the Hegyeshalom crossing on the main highway from Budapest to Vienna were backed up 6 kilometers on Tuesday due to Austrian inspections.