Some words on the situation at the Hungarian-Austrian border on 15th of February 2015 (vom 16.09.2015),
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[16. Sep 2015]

Some words on the situation at the Hungarian-Austrian border on 15th of February 2015

We're just guessing that most of you follow the recent news and kind of know what's happening in Europe right now. For those interested, we share some personal experiences from the border of Austria and Hungary - to tell others, to get motivated and to have some insight news apart from (mainstream) media on the situation there.

The words were collected from several people and can never be lead back to individuals. Border control, police, intelligence service and other controlling institutions: Go die!

Right now, thousands of people stream towards Austria, :: Germany, :: Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and other countries in predominantly northern Europe. Most people come from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other war torn countries. Turkey, :: Greece, :: Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Serbia and :: Hungary represent transit countries, since people try to get further due to expected better living and migration conditions beyond. Germany started border controls some days ago slowing down the fluxes. On 15th of September 2015 :: the laws in Hungary change: the borders are "closed for people illegally entering" the country with the consequence that many refugees are expected to head towards Croatia and Slovenia. That for the greater picture.

Some days ago the news arrived that thousands of people crossed the border from Serbia trying to push north. Many were stranded in a camp close to the border in :: Roeszke, Hungary. The situation was and is extremely severe since capacities were exhausted quickly from the masses of people arriving. Many :: volunteers provide medical aid or support with food, warm clothes or shuttles to the train station or other places. Buses and trains to Gyoer brought thousands of people close to the Austrian border.

Here, people were brought to a camp 12 km's outside of the city were basic help was provided outside the camp. If people wanted to access medical aid or use the facilities and sleep in the house, they were forced to register. That means that they give their fingerprint and name and officially enter Hungary. Where ever they end up in the next weeks they can be sent back to that country they were registered first, following the :: Dublin III regulation. In consequence, many rush through the Balkan trying not to leave their fingerprints at any other place than their final destination.

At the camp close to Gyor, volunteers set up a basic structure where food and clothes were collected and handed out. Some medical aid could be established. Here, again, most people don't stay for too long and push forward to the Austrian border. Endless lines of taxis wait in front of the camp and with support of the cops people are stuffed inside. Volunteers offering free shuttle service to the train station were only let through after long discussions with "people in charge" assuring that no one is brought over the border. Cap drivers charged people anything from EUR 10 to 50 per person for that 12km's to the station. Many volunteers helped shuttling even though the legal situation in Hungary was unclear. The need to help escaping overgrew any paragraphs and regulations. At the train station supporters helped with minimal information how to get further. Trains were leaving every hour and after asking around for one hour the information was spread that no tickets were needed. Here, cops were again left with the job to tell people what to do and where to go without any exaggerated warmth and compassion. Just as doing their jobs. Going back and forth, camp to station and back, occupied many cars for hours. The last train to the border leaves at 10.30pm but buses from all over Hungary arrived all night long at the camp outside the city. So people were forced to either stay at (and register) or before the camp, or wait at the train station for next trains in the morning (assumed they got a lift to the station or could afford the cap fare). When heading back to Austria in the night, supporters brought refugees to emergency shelters which where opened all around Vienna. "We have space for 1300 people and already squeezed in more than we could officially take", a red-cross person said.

Knowing that the borders were "closed" at the 15th many people were pushed to get active and supported at and behind the border to Hungary. At the 14th, the refugee camps at the border to Serbia in Roezke and close to Gyor were shut down/closed and all people were put on trains heading north all day long. Trains with 15+ wagons fitting in more than thousand people were sent through Hungary like cattle to the border town Hegyershalom. Here, people were cettled by cops and walked to the border to Austria. Again supporters helped with shuttles to the border and handed out food and water, as well as rain covers and clothes. Regular trains from Budapest and Gyor were arriving scheduled with 20-50 refugees. The large trains from Roezke were not scheduled and arrived out of sudden without notice. Police lied saying that no more trains would arrived at night but information from Roezke told supporters better: At 10pm many cops prepared for an arrival in the midst of heavy rain fall. A large train with approx. 20 wagons arrived and people were pushed forward to the border. Families with kids and babies, people in wheelchairs, people with crutches and prostheses were rushing next to groups of juveniles and friends. To support especially handicapped people on their way to the border families were driven with cars. The police were not agreeing to that sort of migrant support and heavy discussions started. In their black, long rain coats and with bold heads, swinging batons and flash lights, shouting around like herders, giving orders and showing directions, pictures from former times come up. "Just following their orders" it seems that compassion has completely left their bodies. No assaults were experienced, though expected.

"Do you like to come with a car? We can bring you to the border and it's for free." "Hello, how are you? Where do come from. Where do want to go? What do you need? Do you like an apple, water, juice, chocolate, tissue, rain cover, ..?" "You have to walk over the border, we cannot bring you. Behind the border is help for you: Food and shelter. And you can take a bus to Vienna, from there you can go further." "Germany closed the border, maybe you have to go somewhere else or stay in Vienna to get more info." "You're welcome!"

"Yes, please. We were in the train for 8 hours. We are so tired. You know we started 45 days ago. We walked so much" "We come from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Cameroon, Pakistan, ..." "We want to go to Holland, Hamburg, Munich, Bruxelles, Denmark, Vienna, Germany, France, Dortmund, ..." "Do Austrian people like Afghanistan?" "I had a heart operation, I need to go to hospital." "Our daughter is really sick, we need a warm and dry place to sleep." "My brother lives in XY, we need to get there. Can you drive us to XY?" "The police in Bulgaria took my mobile, my clothes and my money. Can you help me? I have nothing left." "Can you speak to my uncle on the mobile. He's calling from Canada and can translate to Farsi." "Can you bring me to Vienna? My brother works in XY and can take care of me." "A bomb destroyed our house. I lost 3 fingers."

Whole families squeeze into 2, 3, 4 cars and are driven to the border. Road traffic regulations do not count in this situations and the focus lies on the transport of as many people as possible. In the short time people fall asleep, eat, drink and ask for information. Arriving at the border they are back on their own facing rain and border police. All night long trains arrive from somewhere bringing people to the border. It seems that Hungary is kicking out every single refugee, eventually. In Nickelsdorf, Austria, a refugee camp expects thousands of people streaming over the border. Here, most people just want to go on. Maybe grab some food, drink, go to the toilet, and then take a bus, car, taxi (if available) or just walk along the highway towards Vienna. Again, endless taxi lines await the people charging them whatever fare for the ride. The Austrian police doesn't allow supporters giving free rides directly from the border. For that reason people have to walk again for some kilometers to reach the cars. The news of free rides reaches the people and steadily full cars leave towards Vienna. The highway is closed for "security reasons" since many start walking the 60 kilometers to Vienna. A helicopter is monitoring the happening all day long from above.

Information change every hour and it's hard to estimate what is happening next. First, buses leave to Vienna. Then, full-stop. Then, buses leave to any city in Austria. It seems that structures in Vienna are jammed and the authorities try to spread refugees to the whole country. No one knows how the situation will develop, since Hungary closed the border today and Germany re-established border controls "to fight human trafficking and to establish security." Many people have arrived and many people are to come. Since 1-2 months people are one their escape to Europe. And they will stay. Supporters are on the roads, train stations, and in shelters every day and put endless energy and time into the help.

Spread this, discuss, get together and make plans, get active. Help is needed, everywhere.
No borders, no nations. All people, whatever status, are welcome.

Take risk,
some of many.

Article published first on 16. Sep 2015 in ::