Hungary reopens protest-hit border post with Serbia

Hungarian police reopened a border crossing with Serbia on Friday, a day after hundreds of migrants ended a protest demanding entry into Hungary.


Migrants camp in tents next to the border fence at the Serbian Kelebija border village near Subotica on February 6, 2020, as the Tompa road border-crossing on the Hungarian side has been temporarily closed by the Hungarian police. (Photo: AFP)

The protest came a week after dozens of people tried to get into Hungary at another Serbian border crossing during the night, prompting security staff to fire warning shots.

Hungarian police say there has been a sharp rise in attempts to enter the country from the south since December.

"The Tompa road border-crossing has been reopened," said a statement on the police website Friday.

Several hundred people, including women and young children, arrived on Thursday at a strip of land between Serbia and Hungary demanding to be let in.

The migrants wrapped themselves in blankets and huddled in tents during a sit-down protest lasting several hours in bitter cold, young children held placards saying "We are just refugees, not criminals" and "We are running from war not hunger".

They were later taken by bus to reception centres in Serbia, Svetlana Palic, spokeswoman for the Serbian commissariat for refugees, told AFP.

Their claims will be processed in the same way as those of other asylum seekers, she said.

Hungary says more than 3,400 attempts to cross the border were made last month alone, compared with several hundred a month in 2019.

During 2015's migrant crisis, Prime Minister Viktor Orban erected a razor-wire-topped fence at the 175-kilometre-long (110-mile-long) frontier -- one of the EU's external borders.