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For Second Day, Stranded Migrants Camp Out At Train Station In Budapest

Migrants rest near the Keleti Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary, on Wednesday.
Petr David Josek
Migrants rest near the Keleti Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary, on Wednesday.

For a second day, thousands of stranded migrants, including refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, have camped out at the main train station in Budapest.

As we've reported, the Hungarian government was allowing the migrants to leave without a passport check, but on Tuesday migrants were barred from boarding trains that were headed toward Western Europe.

Reporting from the Keleti Railway Station in Budapest, Joanna Kakissis tells our Newscast unit that the train station has become the latest flashpoint in this migrant crisis. She filed this report:

"Malek Hibab is a Syrian computer technician and father of two who's camped outside the Keleti train station. He's got money to buy a ticket bound for Munich. And he needs to get there to claim asylum — and bring his children from Syria.

"He doesn't want handouts, he says, weeping. Just safe passage.

" 'No need money, no need anything,' he says. 'My children now in danger — big danger.'

"None of the refugees and migrants want to stay in Hungary. And Hungary doesn't want them.

"The Hungarian government allowed them to travel on Monday, then abruptly reversed course, saying it's now enforcing European Union border rules."

The Guardian reports that the closure was prompted, at least in part, by pressure from other European Union members trying to cope with the mass influx of migrants.

The paper reports that on Wednesday, the migrants protested outside the station.

"Freedom, freedom," they chanted.

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that migrants continue to pour into Greece.

The BBC adds:

"Some 2,000 people, mostly from the Middle East, remain stranded outside a railway station in Hungary after police stopped them travelling through the EU.

"The EU's border control agency, Frontex, says 23,000 migrants arrived in Greece last week alone — an increase of 50% on the previous week."

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

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