BUDAPEST, Hungary – Disturbing footage emerged Friday, September 11, of the way refugees are being treated inside Hungary’s main refugee camp on the border with Serbia, with images showing families fed “like animals in a pen.”
The video – shot secretly by an Austrian volunteer who visited the flashpoint Roszke camp on Wednesday, September 9 – shows some 150 people wildly scrambling for bags of sandwiches thrown at them by Hungarian police wearing helmets and hygiene masks in a fenced-in enclosure inside a big hall.
Women and children were caught in the chaotic scrum as hungry people frantically tried to catch the bread flying through the air.
Many migrants too far back in the crowd climbed onto the fence, waving and shouting to get the officers’ attention.
“It was like animals being fed in a pen, like Guantanamo in Europe,” said Klaus Kufner, a volunteer who was with the woman who recorded the images, referring to the notorious prison camp where the United States is accused of torturing inmates.
He told Agence France-Presse that he and Michaela Spritzendorfer – who filmed the scenes – had driven together to Roszke to bring food, clothes, and medication to help the thousands of refugees pouring over the border.
“It was inhumane and it really speaks for these people that they didn’t fight over the food despite being clearly very hungry,” said Spritzendorfer, the wife of a Vienna councilor with Austria’s Green Party.
The footage, which was uploaded on YouTube late on Thursday, September 10, and widely shared on social media networks, had more than 20,000 views by Friday morning.
The UN’s refugee agency criticized the dire conditions at the Roszke camp earlier this week, with Hungary’s hardline stance against migrants also angering other EU countries.
Harsh laws which could see refugees jailed for crossing its borders are due to come into force on Tuesday, September 15.
Hungary’s right-wing government in late August completed a razor-wire barrier along its 175-kilometer border with Serbia, but it is not proving to be much of an obstacle for desperate people fleeing war in Syria and Iraq.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban has however ordered the building of an additional 4-meter high fence that he wants completed by the end of October. – Nina Lamparski, AFP/Rappler.com