USA TODAY US Edition
HUNGARY MEETS MASSES WITH STATE OF EMERGENCY Jane Onyanga- Omara
Military could deploy to keep migrants from entering
“We don’t want food. We want to get into the European Union. We are tired.”
Abbas Mandegar from Afghanistan
Hungary declared a state of emergency Tuesday in two southern counties as new laws to prevent migrants and refugees from illegally entering the country went into effect.
Government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said the decision, which gives special powers to police and other authorities, was made at a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. The state of emergency paves the way for the army to be deployed to patrol the borders and assist police in dealing with refugees, pending approval from parliament.
Amnesty International criticized the move, saying Hungary’s “intimidating show of militarized force is shocking.”
Prime Minister Viktor Orban defended the measures, saying he acted to preserve Christian Europe, which he said is threatened by the large numbers of Muslims streaming into the continent.
“The supply is nearly endless — we can see how many of them are coming,” Orban said in a televised address just before the new laws took effect, according to the AP. “And if we look at the demographics, we can see that these people have more children than our communities who lead a traditional, Christian way of life.”
From midnight Hungarian time, it became a crime to cross or damage a 13-foot razor-wire fence on the border with Serbia. Police sealed a key crossing on a railway track that was used by tens of thousands of refugees, many of them from Syria. A record 9,380 migrants entered Hungary on Monday, beating Sunday’s record of 5,809.
Tuesday, Hungarian officials detained 60 people for allegedly attempting to illegally enter the country by breaching the fence, the AP reported. Hungarian officials gave food to migrants on the other side of the structure but refused to let them into the country.
“We don’t want food. We want to get into the European Union,” Abbas Mandegar from Afghanistan told the AP. “We are tired.”
Aleksandar Vulin, the Serbian minister for labor and social policy, said the situation was unsustainable. “They (Hungary) will have to open the border,” he said, according to the BBC.
Germany and Austria called Tuesday for an EU summit on the crisis next week.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere called for financial sanctions on EU member states who refuse to take in refugees. The country expects 800,000 migrants this year.
Turkish media reported that 22 people, including four children, died Tuesday after a boat carrying refugees sank in the Aegean Sea off Turkey’s southwestern Mugla coast.
Mugla Gov. Amir Cicek told the Anadolu news agency that the vessel was sailing to the Greek island of Kos.
The International Organization for Migration said Tuesday that 72 people lost their lives trying to cross from Turkey to the Greek islands during the weekend and in the first days of this week.
Monday, EU nations “agreed in principle” to relocate 160,000 refugees from Italy, Greece and Hungary across the continent, de Maiziere said.
The European Union Council reached a preliminary agreement to redistribute 32,000 refugees from Italy and Greece over the next two years. The two nations are gateways for migrants to enter Europe by sea. The council hopes to raise that figure to 40,000 by December.