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Hungary Closes Budapest Train Station To Migrants Traveling To Western Europe

Children sleep on the outdoor floor of the Keleti railway station in Budapest, Hungary, on Tuesday.
Bela Szandelszky
Children sleep on the outdoor floor of the Keleti railway station in Budapest, Hungary, on Tuesday.

A flood of migrants, including refugees from Syria and Afghanistan, were stranded in Budapest after the Hungarian government closed down the city's main train terminal.

Authorities had been allowing migrants to travel to Western Europe without checking passports, but on Tuesday, the station was closed and migrants began protesting.

The BBC reports:

"About 1,000 migrants congregated outside Keleti station, in the east of the city, as it was evacuated on Tuesday. It was closed briefly and public announcements said no trains would be leaving. But it soon reopened to non-migrant passengers, with lines of police preventing migrants from going through the main entrance.

"The move came amid chaotic scenes after hundreds of migrants had tried to board services to Austria and Germany. Some complained that they had paid hundreds of euros for tickets, and called for the station to be reopened so that they could continue their journey.

"Many of the migrants have been waiting at Keleti station for days. Reporters said they are mainly Syrians, Afghans and Eritreans."

As we've been reporting, Europe is in the midst of an acute migrant crisis. In July, more than 100,000 migrants entered Europe. More than 340,000 have done so this year.

European ministers have called an emergency meeting for Sept. 14 to talk about how to deal with the crisis.

To try to stem the tide, Hungary erected 100 miles of razor-wire fence along the Serbian border.

The BBC took a trip there to find out how that was working:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.