Hungarian volunteers brought a brief smile to the faces of refugee children stuck at Budapest’s main railway station last night, putting on an outdoor screening of “Tom and Jerry”.
Members of an events company set up a projector outside the Keleti station in the Hungarian capital, where police barricaded the doors for 48 hours to stop asylum-seekers moving on into western Europe.
The camp has been the site of clashes between right-wing groups and pro-migrant volunteers, and a continuation of the desperate conditions facing hundreds of people who have fled war and persecution.
Yet for more than an hour on Wednesday night, boys and girls who had come to Budapest from Syria and other countries were able to forget the journey they had endured and the challenges ahead.
Some trains have now begun departing Keleti after police stood down on Thursday morning. But all westbound services have been cancelled, and hundreds of refugees entered the station to scenes of confusion.
The Hungarian government has largely blamed Germany for the numbers arriving at its border, with prime minister Viktor Orban telling a press conference in Brussels that the refugee crisis was “a German problem, not a European one”.
Mr Orban’s chief of staff, Janos Lazar, said the situation at Keleti was to be blamed on Angela Merkel’s message of welcome.
“This is because Germany...more than a week ago told Syrians that Germany awaited them, inviting them to the laid table,” he said.
Hungary was the only EU member state to refuse to rehome a single Syrian or Eritrean asylum-seeker under a bloc-wide commitment earlier this year.
And Mr Lazar said the authorities there would perform checks on all refugees travelling on trains, domestic or international, towards western Europe.
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