Hundreds of refugees arrive in Germany
Radio New Zealand International
September 5, 2015 6:05 pm
The first group of an expected 10,000 asylum-seekers has been greeted in Munich after an arduous journey through Hungary and Austria.
Germans applauded and offered sweets as about 450 asylum-seekers arrived on a special train service.
Left to walk across the border into Austria, the refugees, many of them fleeing war in Syria, were whisked by train and shuttle bus to Vienna, where many said they would continue on to Germany.
The plight of the asylum-seekers has highlighted the European Union’s struggle to deal with a surge of people flooding in from war zones in the Middle East and North Africa.
Last week, there were chaotic scenes in Budapest as Hungary blocked asylum-seekers from travelling by train to Western Europe, saying it was obliged to register them.
Crowds broke through security lines and began walking the 175km to the border with Austria.
Under mounting pressure, Hungary opened its border and provided buses to take the asylum-seekers – mostly Syrians and Iraqis – to Austria, which expects to have received up to 10,000 people by today.
About 3,000 exhausted people crossed the Austrian border yesterday and were received in a Red Cross Centre. They were offered the opportunity to claim asylum in Austria or carry on to Germany.