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Refugee crisis: Desperate families try to board trains in Budapest after police withdraw from Keleti station

Published 03/09/2015

Migrants board trains in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.
Migrants board trains in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.
Migrants board trains in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.
Migrants board trains in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.
Migrants board trains in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.
Migrants board trains in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.
Migrants board trains in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.
Migrants board trains in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.
Migrants board trains in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.
Migrants board trains in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.

Migrants have poured into Budapest's Keleti railway station after police stopped blocking its main entrance, and hundreds piled into trains despite announcements that there were no services to western Europe.

Hungary's railway company said it had suspended all direct trains from the Hungarian capital to western destinations "in the interests of railway transport security".

Crowds of migrants dashed into the station as police withdrew, and boarded trains waiting at the platforms despite announcements, including in English over station loudspeakers, that the trains were not heading west.

Some migrants could be seen getting off the domestic trains, while others remained on the carriages amid the confusion.

Police shut down the Keleti terminal to migrants on Tuesday, preventing those with valid tickets but no travel documents from boarding trains to Austria and Germany, the preferred destinations of many migrants.

The move came hours before prime minister Viktor Orban meets European Union leaders in Brussels to discuss the crisis.

On Wednesday, migrants had threatened to walk the 105 miles to the Austrian border if police would not let them board trains to their desired destinations in Austria and Germany.

Hungary opened the way on Monday, allowing more than 1,000 migrants to pack westbound trains - and inspiring a migrant surge to the capital - before it withdrew the option 24 hours later.

Hungary, which for months permitted most applicants to head west after short bureaucratic delays, now says it will not let more groups deeper into the European Union and claims EU backing for the move.

With an estimated 3,000 people camping outside the station, conditions had grown increasingly squalid despite the efforts of volunteers distributing water, food, medicine and disinfectants.

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