BICSKE, Hungary — After misery, delivery. Hundreds of migrants, exhausted after breaking away from police and marching for hours toward Western Europe, boarded buses provided by Hungary’s government as Austria in the early-morning hours said it and Germany would let them in.
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann announced the decision early Saturday after speaking with Angela Merkel, his German counterpart — not long after Hungary’s surprise nighttime move to provide buses for the weary travelers from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
With people streaming in long lines along highways from a Budapest train station and near a migrant reception center in this northern town, the buses would be used because “transportation safety can’t be put at risk,” said Janos Lazar, chief of staff to the prime minister.
Lazar blamed Germany’s “contradictory communications” and the European Union for the crisis.
The asylum seekers had already made dangerous treks in scorching heat, crawling under barbed wire on Hungary’s southern frontier and facing the hostility of some locals along the way. Their first stop will be Austria, on Hungary’s western border, though most hope to eventually reach Germany.
Hungarian authorities had refused to let them board trains to the west, and the migrants balked at going to processing centers, fearing they would be forced to live in Hungary.
Under European law, refugees are supposed to seek asylum in the first European Union country they enter. But many see limited economic opportunities and a less welcoming atmosphere in Hungary than in Germany, Sweden and other Western nations.
In what the Hungarian media called a “day of uprisings,” about 350 people broke through a police cordon Friday and began heading to Austria, 135 kilometers (85 miles) to the west, on tracks leading away from the railway station. Surprised riot police scrambled for their helmets as the crowd surged from the front of the train.
One man, a 51-year-old Pakistani, collapsed about 800 meters (yards) from the station and died despite efforts to rescue him.
Those left behind, mostly women and children, were boarded onto buses and taken to the nearby asylum center.
Hours earlier, about 2,000 people set out from Budapest’s Keleti station for a 171-kilometer journey (106-mile) to the Austrian border. At first police tried to block them, but they quickly gave up. By nightfall, the marchers had already covered about 50 kilometers (30 miles).
Along the way, some met with gestures of support. Many flashed the V-sight for victory, while some handed …Read More