BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Protesters on Tuesday called on the Hungarian government to abandon construction of an anti-immigrant fence of the border with Serbia and provide more support to refugees seeking asylum in the European Union.
About 800 people took part in the protest, some breaking through a makeshift barrier set up outside parliament as a symbol of their opposition to the 4-meter (13-foot) high fence which the government starting building this week.
Activist Amy Rodgers from MigSzol, an organization which assists migrants and refugees, asked the Hungarian government to open more refugee camps and on the EU to create legal ways for refugees to reach Europe.
She also criticized the government for its anti-immigrant billboard campaign, which has slogans like “If you come to Hungary, you cannot take Hungarians’ jobs.”
“In the middle of the biggest refugee crisis in recorded history, this government has somehow managed to make it sound like they are the ones with the problem,” Rodgers said, who also highlighted how Hungarian volunteers were helping migrants. “In order for this continent to start looking a bit more humane we need many, many things. The one thing we definitely don’t need is a fence.”
Around 80,000 migrants and refugees have reached Hungary so far in this year, with around 800 to 1,000 arriving daily in recent weeks. Most request asylum but leave for richer EU countries before their claims are settled.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government is staunchly opposed to immigration from outside Europe and he has said that Europe’s Christian identity is at risk from the large number of migrants.