BUDAPEST: Hundreds of refugees broke through police lines in Hungary near the main crossing point from Serbia yesterday (Wednesday) as police were forced to close a major highway as many more refugees marched to Europe.
The migrants fled from a waiting point close to the gap in Hungary's new euros 100 million razor wire border fence that thousands cross each day, walking along a railway track that connects Szeged to Subotica in northern Serbia.
Shouting "No camp!" the refugees scattered into nearby maize and sunflower fields.
Some ran to the nearby M5 motorway to Budapest, which police then closed down.
Yesterday was the third consecutive day in which hundreds of migrants had fled Hungarian authorities, rather than being held at the increasingly cramped holding camp.
Tensions were heightened after a
Hungarian camerawoman working for a local TV network, run by the anti-immigration far-right Jobbik party, was caught on camera kicking refugees fleeing a camp.
Another cameraman captured the moment Petra Lazlo films the refugees running away from charging police officers at the border village of Roszke before sticking her leg out as a father carrying his son runs past, causing them both to fall to the ground.
The video was widely shared on social media and the station promptly announced she had been fired.
With Hungary at breaking point, the UNHCR announced that it expects another 30,000 migrants to enter Hungary in the next 10 days.
Viktor Orban's Fidesz government has been widely portrayed as struggling to cope with processing applications. Yesterday Peter Szijjarto, Hungary's foreign minister, said a "powerful media campaign" is being waged against the country.
"Hungary has taken in refugees but we don't talk about this," Mr Szijjarto said, referring to a fellow minister's claim that the country had secretly taken in 1,000 Christian families from Iraq and Egypt in 2013 and 2014.
Leaflets are now being distributed across southern Hungary that say "Hungarians are hospitable, but the strongest possible action is taken against those who attempt to enter Hungary illegally."
Beyond the rhetoric, Hungary has tightened laws against migrants. It has criminalised illegally entering the country and damaging state property, including the fence, for which migrants could face up to five years in prison.
A second law scheduled to take effect on Sept 15 will allow armed soldiers to man the border in a "state of emergency".
Soldiers will be authorised to use rubber bullets, teargas, nets and dogs to apprehend migrants entering illegally, and to use deadly force if they believe that their own lives are in danger.
"Now virtually all migrants present in Hungary can be charged with a crime," said Kim Lane Shepelle, a Princeton professor and a Hungary expert.