Hungarian government facing pressure after border protests

Protestors in Roszke on Saturday demanded the government change its anti-refugee policies and open its borders, according to the Hungary News Agency. Demonstrators gathered in front of a church in the city’s square before walking to a border area surrounded by razor wire fences where they demanded the release of a Syrian who was sentenced last year to a 10-year prison term for throwing stones and bottles at police on the border. Actor Arpar Schilling told the crowd the government’s treatment of refugees is inhumane and disgraceful.
Hungary is an essential route used by refugees attempting to reach norther and western Europe and has faced heavy criticism for building razor wire fences along its borders with Serbia and Croatia, subjecting refugees to tear gas and water cannons, increasing penalties for illegal migration and last March declared a state of emergency on border areas. Some groups have accused security officials of violence against refugees. Hungary, one of the focal points of Europe’s migration crisis since 2015, last month approved a law to detain migrants in border camps, a step which the United Nations said violated EU law and would have a “terrible physical and psychological impact” on asylum seekers.
Lawmakers have allowed refugees, including children, to stay at border camps while asylum request are processed but refugees who are in the country illegally face deportation. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has called mass migration a threat to Europe’s socioeconomic make-up and a “Trojan horse for terrorism” and Hungary has been a focal point for Europe’s migration crisis since 2015. Orban has also argued that allowing in so many Muslims risks undermining Europe’s liberal democratic values and its Christian traditions, which are not being shared by the majorities of the new arrivals.

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