Refugees start march from Belgrade to Hungary

A group of around 350 refugees and migrants began a protest march from the Serbian capital to the border, demanding to be allowed to pass freely into Hungary. The refugees and migrants began their protest march on Tuesday to Serbia’s border with Hungary, some 200 kilometres north of Belgrade, escorted by police to ensure security and prevent them from blocking traffic on the highway. They are demanding that the border be opened to allow them to continue their journey towards Western Europe, as around 7,000 refugees and migrants are currently stuck in the country after fences were erected along the Hungarian-Serbian frontier to prevent them from passing through. Some of them held up hand-written placards with slogans demanding: “Open the border please!” “I request to Hungarian people, please open this border,” one of the protesters told Serbian media outlet Kurir. “We will continue our demonstration against Hungarian policy if they don’t open this border,” another protester told Kurir. The protest march began after a group of migrants gathered earlier on Tuesday in a park near Belgrade’s central bus station and began a rally that erupted into a brawl, Gordan Paunovic, a coordinator from the Belgrade-based B92 Fund, which is involved in the refugee aid effort, told BIRN. Paunovic said that the situation escalated after some of the refugees and migrants became tense and nervous. “There was some unfortunate attempt by migrants to protest against the closing of the borders,” he said. But he added that such protests were not new since large groups of people became stuck in Serbia as a result of Hungary’s strict border controls. “People are sent to a refugee camp near Belgrade in Krnjaca; however, there is not enough room and most of the people here, at the bus station, are from Afghanistan and Pakistan so they cannot enter the camp,” he explained.

Milivoje Pantovic in Refugees Start March from Belgrade to Hungary (Balkan Insight)