Saturday, September 5, 2015

Hungary: no more buses for marching refugees - as it happened


Full coverage of the worst refugee crisis to hit Europe since the second world war

Afternoon summary

We’re closing the live blog now. If you’re a refugee who’s crossed the Mediterranean this summer - or you’re one of those who’s helping refugees, you can continue sharing your stories with us by contributing to Guardian Witness.
I’ve included all the significant developments from today below.
We will continue to cover the refugee crisis in our various reports from across Europe. Thanks for your comments.
Emma Graham-Harrison reports that in Munich station dozens of Germans have lined up behind police barriers to welcome the refugees to their new home, as a sophisticated operation provided food and transport to temporary lodging.
“We just wanted them to know that the torture is over,” said Hedy Gupta, a grandmother handing out slabs of chocolate and welcoming cheers. “I have children and a five year old grandchild of my own and when I think what they have been through these children, it leaves me on the ground.”
Beside her on the barricades of welcome was Waltraud Volger, a legal assistant who lives nearby. “I heard about it on the radio around one today and just gathered what food and clothes I had and came over to donate it and offer to help. They have so many volunteers though that they haven’t needed me so I’m just standing here welcoming the with clapping.
“I’ve never done anything like this before, but when you hear their stories and see the pictures you can’t just stand by.” Four hours in she had no plans to leave if the trains are still rolling in.
Hedy Gupta (left) and Waltraud Volger (right)
 Hedy Gupta (left) and Waltraud Volger (right) Photograph: The Guardian
Mona Mahmood has spoken to Rami Abu Ali, a Syrian refugee from Quneitra city in Syria, who left his hometown last July to escape the war and find a safe country for his wife and daughter. Rami now is in a camp in Nonberg in Germany. Read his story below:
I’m glad I finally got in Germany, it is a great country that really understands the plight of the Syrian refugees. The service offered by the camp in Nonberg is good and I can’t wait for my wife and daughter to join me. I’m concerned about the huge number of refugees flooding daily to Germany, it might make the process of getting reunited with my family take a long time, however, I do not advise my family or any other Syrian refugees to smuggle themselves to Europe.
It is much better that a member of the family would come here and then bring the whole family. I can’t forget the scenes of fear and terror sustained by women and kids when more than 50 refugee were crammed in a small boat and pushed in the sea among the high waves by the smuggler. I was hesitant to go to Azmir in Turkey to find a smuggler after the horrible stories I heard from my friends who took the same route. But my father was worried about me and he gave me $1000 to pay the smuggler and go to Europe.
I have always been too scared of the sea and never been in a boat all my life, but there was no time to rethink. At midnight, the boat would leave you and you would lose your money. My heart was jumping with every high wave which would take the boat up and down among the shouts and screams of the kids and women.
I feel lucky that my attempt to get to Greece was successful from the fist time, my friend who was sitting beside in the boat told me, “ Believe me this is the 15th attempt, I hope I will make it this time. I can’t bear be in prison any more.”
All the way to Hungry, the refugees were concern of being forced to have fingerprints and sent back to Serbia. The only way to avoid the Hungarian authorities was to pay a smuggler another $1700 to take you to Germany, but I had run out of money and had to spend night in parks and forests with little food.
I walked all the way to Germany and then handed myself over to the first police station I found after I had crossed the borders. I jumped out of joy when the Germans decided to waive the fingerprint and spare me the fear of being sent back to Hungary. Now, I’m in a camp in Nonberg where I have housing and three meals. I get also €183 per a month to buy some cigarettes and Internet units to phone my family in Syria and make sure they are safe and to prepare themselves to join me. I thank God that the nightmare of being killed in Syria or drowning in the sea is over and I can start a new life.
A newborn migrant boy was found dead early on Saturday after his parents reached the steep shores of the Greek island of Agathonisi in a boat from Turkey, the Greek coastguard service said. The baby boy was taken to hospital on the nearby island of Samos, where he was pronounced dead.
Greece is struggling to cope with the hundreds of migrants and refugees from the war inSyria making the short crossing every day from Turkey to Greece’s eastern islands, including Kos, Lesbos, Samos and Agathonisi. Thousands are waiting to be identified and ferried to Athens to continue their trip to other European countries. 
Premier League football clubs are considering what steps to take to help Syrian refugees as the migration crisis continues to escalate. German clubs have led the way when it comes to donations and other initiatives and, although far more refugees have reached Germany than the UK, some clubs in England are monitoring the situation to see what they can do to help, while others are already helping.
In a statement, West Bromwich Albion told the Guardian, who tried to contact all 20 clubs on Friday: “The club and its charity partner, the Albion Foundation, has developed a number of its own initiatives which support people in need – whether that be in the west Midlands, Africa or Asia.
“The current refugee crisis is a matter of grave concern which will be given full consideration by the club at the earliest opportunity. In the meantime we are obviously willing to support any initiatives to help raise the profile of the issue.”
Photographer Nilüfer Demir has explained the moment she shot the picture of Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body washing ashore Turkey’s Aegean coast. In a new interview, Demir said:
At that moment, when I saw the three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, I was petrified.
[He] was lying lifeless face down in the surf, in his red t-shirt and dark blue shorts folded to his waist. The only thing I could do was to make his outcry heard.
Galip [his brother] was lying 100 meters away. I approached him this time. I noticed they didn’t have any lifejackets on them, any arm floats, anything to help them to float in the water.

Germany can cope with refugees without raising taxes, says Merkel

Angela Merkel has said Germany can cope with a record influx of refugees this year without raising taxes and without jeopardising its balanced budget.
More than 100,000 asylum seekers entered Germany in August, and the about 800,000 refugees and migrants are expected in the country in total this year - four times last year’s level.
In light of the influx, the government plans to introduce a supplementary budget to free up funds for the refugees and to help towns on the frontline that are already struggling to fund accommodation and medical care for the new arrivals.
But Reuters reports that in an interview with local newspapers, Merkel promised that Berlin would not raise taxes because of the refugee crisis. Berlin’s comfortable budgetary position is making it easier to master such “unexpected tasks”, Merkel said, adding that the refugee crisis was the government’s priority now.
Officials have said that thanks to higher-than-expected tax revenues, Berlin could have leeway for extra public spending of up to 5 billion euros this year.

Hungary police chief says no more buses for marchers

Hungary’s police chief said that buses are no longer being provided to transfer migrants to the Austrian border. “The provision of buses towards Austria was a one-off and there will be no more vehicles sent to refugees walking along the road” Karoly Papp told a news conference.
Hungary’s provision of around 90 buses followed a march on Friday towards Austria by around 1,200 migrants from Budapest’s Keleti train station. Today at least 500 people began a second march towards Austria.
Emma Graham-Harrison has been with the new arrivals and those who missed the overnight buses at Budapest’s Keleti station. She reports that dozens of determined refugees, mostly Syrian, marched into the station at almost military pace.
“We are going to Germany, we don’t have time to talk” said one as the group poured down into the metro before someone realised they had got the wrong train network and the station disgorged them again.
On the mainline platforms where something like ordinary service was resuming, after days of signs warning no international trains were running, they stormed onto carriages of one train but again turned back when inspectors said it would not cross the border.
Determined to keep their momentum and the advantage numbers gave, the group decided to set off for the border on foot again, chasing the success of Friday’s thousands of breakaways.
“Police caught us near the Syrian border, detained us and took us all to a camp where they locked us up and fingerprinted us,” said a Syrian preparing to set off on foot with his two year old daughter Yara. “We shouted at them to let us go to Keleti, to travel on to the border. Eventually they did.”
Amit Sandhu has spoken to Tom Radcliffe, who helped set up a crowdfund for his Help Calais campaign hoping to reach £1,000. Radcliffe said within days the campaign went “bananas” and he has now raised more than £47,000.
The 49 year-old acting teacher from Kent is now staying up late organising the distribution of the money and getting up in the early hours of the morning to move supplies, sandwiching his day job in between. He said the campaign really picked up this week as people started realising what was actually happening in Europe.
The press changed suddenly - they realised these weren’t economic migrants they are refugees.
I think that was when families started realising what was really happening.
People realised that the stuff they were being fed about Calais was nonsense.
My friend who’s a builder who voted Ukip has completely changed his mind.
Two weeks ago he was saying we should send the army out and now he is going to drive to Europe in his truck and help build shelters.
Something has changed in the country at large.

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