September 4, 2015

BICSKE, Hungary — Hundreds of migrants, stymied by Hungarian authorities who had halted trains to Germany, began a final march toward freedom Friday, breaking away from police and heading on foot for the western border.
In a bid to ease the crisis, the Hungarian government said in a surprise announcement Friday night it was dispatching buses to take hundreds of the marchers to the border with Austria. It was not clear what their fate would be there.
With people streaming in long lines along highways from a Budapest train station and one near a migrant reception center in the northern town of Bicske, the buses would be used because “transportation safety can’t be put at risk,” said Janos Lazar, chief of staff to the prime minister.
“A migration crisis is shaking Hungary,” Lazar said, blaming Germany’s “contradictory communications” and the European Union for the crisis.
There was no answer whether Austria will let the migrants in. Lazar said Hungary had asked Austria to clarify its position on the migrants but had not yet received an answer.
The buses will take passengers to the main Hegyeshalom crossing with Austria, although it’s not clear if they will trust authorities and get on the buses. Some were tricked earlier in the week to get on a train that did not go to Austria.
“This is a opportunity,” Lazar said. “The immigrants have to decide whether they want to take advantage of it. We are taking this step so Hungary’s transportation is not paralyzed during the next 24 hours.”
The asylum-seekers — many from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan — had already made dangerous treks in scorching heat, under barbed wire on Hungary’s southern frontier and faced 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 they balked at going to processing centers for migrants, fearing they would then be forced to live in Hungary.
Under European law, refugees are supposed to seek asylum in the first European Union country that they enter. But most of them see limited economic opportunities and a less-welcoming atmosphere in Hungary than in Germany, Sweden and other Western nations.
Earlier Friday, Parliament tightened its immigration rules, approving the creation of transit zones on …Read More