Following the tragic death of 71 people in the back of a lorry bound for Austria, the Hungarian government allowed refugees who were camped at Budapest’s Keleti station to board trains to Vienna on Monday (31/8).
On Tuesday (1/9) the government reversed this policy and thousands of migrants and refugees who had bought tickets that they were unable to use protested outside the station.
On Thursday, police guarding the station were removed, and the migrants were allowed into the building. They were also allowed to board a train which they assumed was bringing them to Sopron, close to Austrian border.
Instead, the train stopped in Bicske, a small town with a reception center about 40 km west of Budapest. Hundreds of people remained on a train in the Hungarian town of Bicske over Thursday night refusing to go to the nearby reception centre and insisting on moving on to Germany.
The Hungarian government says that it is only implementing existing EU asylum policies and has received mixed messages from Germany regarding its acceptance of refugees who travelled through Hungary.
“The situation changes by the hour and is very tense, with refugees refusing to go to the reception centres,” said Magdalena Majkowska-Tomkin, the IOM Chief of Mission in Budapest.
“Chaos and confusion reigns and there is little information regarding each new decision. This uncertainty is causing a lot of anger and frustration, especially after the refugees saw others depart (and arrive) without any problems on Monday.”
Over 140,000 asylum applications have been registered in Hungary this year, representing a 58-fold increase from 2012, and a threefold increase from last year. The total number of migrants registering for asylum in Hungary in 2015 is expected to rise to 300,000 this year. Most of this year’s arrivals come from Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. Up to last week, over 95 per cent left for other destinations in Western Europe within a few days.