Inmates build a fence along the Hungarian border with Serbia near a collection point in Roszke, Hungary September 10, 2015.
Not far from the camp at Roszke where thousands of migrants and refugees cross into the European Union every day, prisoners are working to complete a massive fence that is to seal Hungary off from Serbia by October.More 170,000 people have crossed into Hungary since the beginning of the year, fleeing war, discrimination and poverty in the Middle East and Africa in the hope of finding refuge in the richest countries of the European Union.Earlier this week, Hungary’s defense minister resigned because Prime Minister Viktor Orban was dissatisfied with progress that had been made in building the 175-km (110-mile) fence.Five days before a new law comes into affect which will allow much stricter patrolling of Hungary’s southern border, the fence is nowhere near complete, with gangs of prisoners working to assemble the 3.5-metre barrier stretching eastward from the town of Roszke to the end of the Hungarian-Serbian frontier.For now, migrants are easily able to crawl or climb over a much lower temporary barbed-wire fence that was itself laid down in double time after a government decision in July.The government hopes the new fence will make all but impermeable a border that, until recently, had seemed set to fade away as Cold War tensions and the refugee streams that accompanied the 1990s Balkan wars receded further into history.Along the border near Roszke, dozens of prisoners were working on building the new, more impenetrable barrier on Wednesday, watched over by prison guards.A policeman supervising them told Reuters the prisoners were from the high-security Csillag prison in nearby Szeged.
Near them, hundreds of migrants milled around, some sitting in the shade beside the railway track as they debated whether to walk the final steps into the European Union and run the risk of being fingerprinted in Hungary and obliged to stay there.Hungary is legally obliged to intercept and identify each entrant, but in practice large numbers have been able to continue on to Austria and Germany, with the tacit acceptance of all three governments.EYEING EACH OTHER IN THE SUN
Prisoners, migrants, police and prison guards all eyed each other in the noonday sun on Wednesday. Some prisoners worked, while others chatted and rested.Prisoners have been involved in building the fence since the beginning. …Read More