ROSZKE, HUNGARY – Several hundred migrants broke through police lines at Hungary’s main border crossing with Serbia Tuesday, forcing police to use pepper spray on one occasion to move a group off a main road.
The series of breakouts took place at a police collection point near the border crossing at Roszke, the first stop on the Hungarian side of the border with Serbia, before people are brought to a registration camp nearby.
Some 300 migrants, part of a group of 1,500 people waiting for hours at the collection point, bolted past police through a cornfield onto a train track, to walk to the nearby city of Szeged.
Police later managed to persuade the group to be transported to refugee registration camps around the country.
Later Tuesday, several hundred more migrants broke out of the collection point in various groups, and walked around 1 km along a main road.
A tense standoff ensued, during which police used pepper spray to contain the crowd before eventually transporting them by bus back to a registration camp at Roszke.
Tuesday’s disturbances were the latest in a series of incidents on EU member Hungary’s southern border with Serbia, a major entry point into the European Union for migrants and refugees fleeing war and misery in the Middle East and Asia.
On Monday, some 200 people pushed past a police line at the same collection point, with scuffles erupting throughout the day as the migrants chanted “Freedom!”
After marching some 15 km along a motorway they eventually agreed to be taken back to the registration centre by bus.
More than 165,000 migrants have crossed into Hungary so far this year.
Most seek to travel on to Germany via Austria.
Hungary recently completed construction of a razor-wire barrier along its 175-km (110-mile) frontier with Serbia, but it has failed to stop large numbers of people getting through.
It is currently building an additional 13-foo) fence despite widespread criticism, with France’s foreign minister saying the barrier does “not respect European values.”