Hungarian police close main entry point for migrants from Serbia


Hungarian police on Monday closed off the main crossing point for migrants entering from Serbia, AFP reported, becoming the latest Schengen-zone country to reimpose border controls following a similar move by Germany on Sunday.


Around 20 police officers fenced off a 40-metre gap in a razor-wire barrier along the border by a railway line as other officers blocked the track.

A growing group of several dozen migrants including many children, some in pushchairs, were stuck on the Serbian side of the border, with several women crying.

EU member Hungary is on the front line of Europe's migrant crisis, with almost 200,000 people travelling from Greece through the western Balkans to enter the country this year, most of them seeking to continue to northern Europe.

Police said a record 5,809 people had entered on Sunday, smashing the previous day's record of 4,330 despite coils of razorwire being unrolled along the Serbian border.

By around midday local time on Monday another 5,353 people had been intercepted, police said.

The sharp increase came ahead of tough laws coming into force on Tuesday under which people entering Hungary illegally can be jailed for up to three years.

Hungary is also building a controversial four-metre-high (13-foot) fence all along its 175-kilometre (110-mile) border with Serbia that it intends to complete by the end of October or early November.

Most of the migrants – mostly Syrians, Afghans and Pakistanis – seek to travel onwards to Austria and then further into Western Europe, often Germany or Sweden.

Germany reimposed border controls on Sunday after more than 13,000 migrants arrived in Munich in a single day on Saturday.

Austria and Slovakia said on Monday that they would follow suit, with Vienna planning to deploy around 2,200 military personnel.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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