Refugees on the Hungarian-Serbian border have declared a sit-down hunger strike in response to not being allowed to cross into Hungary and proceed to Germany and other destinations in Europe, according to Twitter posts.
— Index.hu (@indexhu) September 15, 2015
— Fergal Keane (@fergalkeane47) September 15, 2015
Hungary has declared a state of emergency in two of its southern counties, reportedly Bacs-Kiskun and Csongrad. The government has warned refugees they will be arrested if they attempt to break through a fence erected along the border with Serbia.
Refugees have gathered along the border demanding entry into Hungary and the EU. “Open border, open border!” they demanded, according to a Reuters reporter.
The border was officially closed at midnight on Monday and refugees from Syria and Afghanistan were turned back.
Serbia has protested the border closure. “Europe has to find a solution fast before the situation escalates even further. This border crossing, one of the main ones in Europe, has to remain open,” said Aleksandar Vulin, the Serbian social affairs minister.
The United Nations is working to bypass Hungary and find other countries that will allow passage of hundreds of thousands of refugees into Europe.
“We’re definitely in touch with different countries on contingencies and UNHCR is ready to move and assist different countries as best we can. It’s going to be just as much a struggle as it has been for Macedonia and Greece,” said Melissa Fleming, the spokeswoman for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.