Keleti Train Station in Budapest Temporarily Shuts Down Amid Migrant Crisis – New York Times
Video Crowds of people waiting to board trains to Austria and Germany early Tuesday at Keleti train station protested after the station shut down temporarily.
By ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS and DAN BILEFSKY
September 1, 2015
BUDAPEST — Keleti train station, which has emerged as ground zero in Europe’s spiraling migration crisis, temporarily shut down its services on Tuesday under the strain of an influx of migrants trying to travel to Germany from Hungary.
Emphasizing the sense of confusion across Europe, Austria’s interior minister, Johanna Mikl-Leitner, called on Germany, the preferred destination for many of the migrants, to clarify its stance on asylum rules.
Rows of riot police officers wearing red caps tried to contain the migrants in Budapest, and the migrants erupted in protest after the station stopped allowing them to board trains. Instead, they were allowed into the courtyard of the station, which has been transformed into a makeshift camp.
The migrants, who had been gathered since 5 a.m. in the hopes of boarding a train, chanted: “Go free! Go free! Go free!” Later, they shouted, “Merkel, Merkel,” referring to Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, whose country is expected to receive 800,000 asylum seekers this year.
Train services at Keleti were restored shortly after 10 a.m., and no migrants were being allowed back into the station.
The scenes of confusion and despair at Keleti underlined the challenges facing Europe as tens of thousands of migrants, buffeted by civil war and conflict in the Middle East and Syria, try to make the perilous journey to Europe, only to be confronted with a patchwork of policies across a 28-member bloc that is ill equipped to deal with the surge.
Tamas Lederer, a volunteer who is helping to coordinate the response at Keleti, said he had been told that as of Tuesday, only passengers with visas from countries in the European Union’s open-border Schengen zone would be allowed to board the trains.
He said that migrants and asylum seekers with identity cards and passports from places like Syria had been able to travel on Monday, but that the authorities had toughened their stance.
Interactive Feature | Traveling in Europe’s River of Migrants Thousands of migrants and refugees are desperately pushing their way through the Balkans, trying to reach Hungary before it seals its border.
In the last five days, the number …Read More