'Inhumane' police throw food at crowds of desperate refugees in Hungary


Jessica Staufenberg
Friday 11 September 2015 11:23 BST
Police hurl food at Syrian refugees
Police hurl food at Syrian refugees (YouTube/Michaela Spritzendorfer-Ehrenhauser)

Hungarian police have been filmed tossing food into a sea of hands at one of the country's refugee camps, in scenes labelled "inhumane".

Footage shared by an Austrian politician shows armed police, some with riot gear and face masks on, throwing packages of food into a crowd of mostly young men and children.

About 300 refugees at the Hungarian border town of Roszke were filmed during chaotic scenes on Wednesday by Michaela Spritzendorfer-Ehrenhauser. The footage was then shared by her husband, Austrian politician Alexander Spritzendorfer, according to ABC News.

Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director of Human Rights Watch, expressed his shock at the footage, which comes amid increased criticism of the Hungarian government's handling of the crisis on its borders.

"Feeding time for Syrian refugees at Roszke 1 detention camp in Hungary. Inhumane," he said.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported that 2,700 people crossed into Hungary by Wednesday morning, with many trying to break free to walk to Budapest and on to Germany or Austria.

Thousands of refugees from the Middle East and Asia began arriving at the Hungarian border a week ago as it is the main entry point to Europe across the Balkan peninsula, Al Jazeera has reported.

To begin with Hungarian authorities cancelled all trains to Germany and Austria and kept refugees in closely guarded camps, saying it had to register them as asylum seekers in the country. It now appears to have given up on that policy.

The UNHCR reported that: "The numbers mount and the authorities are all but submerged by them."

Many refugees have expressed reluctance about remaining in Hungary, seeking to reach Germany or Austria where they have been welcomed.

Mr Bouckaert said refugees must be properly treated or allowed to move on.

"Hungary cannot cope with this influx of asylum seekers, they're not properly treating these people, and they either have to meet their international obligations and their obligations towards the EU or they have to let these people go to where they want to go, which certainly is not Hungary," Al Jazeera reported him as saying.

Hungarian authorities said they were trying to control the numbers flowing in to train stations and they had treated refugees responsibly.

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