Protest in Vienna Over Refugees' Plight

Published: 02nd September 2015 08:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd September 2015 08:23 AM   |  A+A-

CROWDS of 20,000 Austrians have taken to the streets of Vienna to show their disgust at the government's treatment of refugees following the discovery of 71 dead migrants in a lorry last week.

The protesters congregated at the capital's Westbahnhof station on Monday night before marching through the streets.

At the same time, a memorial service was held in St Stephen's Cathedral for the migrants found in the lorry near Parndorf last Thursday. "We've had enough - enough of the deaths, the suffering and the persecution," Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, told the congregation, which included senior members of the government.

As trains arrived in Hegyeshalom station that evening, the last stop on the Hungarian side of the border on the Budapest-Vienna line, volunteers such as Mario Haider rushed to the doors and windows of the overcrowded carriages to hand out food and water to migrants, most of whom said they had fled the civil war in Syria.

"We are doing this out of humanity," said Mr Haider, a 35-year-old who works for IBM in Vienna. "Our government is not ready to help, we have to do it."

In Munich yesterday, migrants were welcomed by volunteers handing out teddy bears for the children.

Crowds of people gathered to hand out food, water and other essentials to the arriving asylum seekers, according to local reports. Many were giving away clothes, including lederhosen and German national team football shirts.

Some of the migrants were reportedly confused at being handed pretzels, the traditional snack of Bavaria.

Later in the afternoon the police asked people not to bring any more supplies to the station, saying there was already more than enough for the migrants there.

"We are overwhelmed by the donations of Munich for the refugees at the main station. Please bring no more supplies for now," they wrote on Twitter.

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