Hungary PM sends 900 new policemen to defend border

Hungarian policemen watch migrants near a collection point in Roszke village, Hungary Sept 9, 2015.
Hungarian policemen watch migrants near a collection point in Roszke village, Hungary Sept 9, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

BUDAPEST (REUTERS) - Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban directed hundreds of new policemen to the southern border with Serbia on Monday (Sept 14) to help manage record numbers of refugees and migrants trying to enter the European Union.

Police rounded up 5,809 people on the border on Sunday, bringing the number of illegal border crossings to 191,702 this year as tens of thousands of people, many fleeing Syria's civil war, trek up through the western Balkans towards Germany.

"You will meet with people who have been deceived. You will be met with temper and aggression," Orban told new officers he inaugurated on Monday, calling on police to be humane but enforce the law in an "uncompromising" manner.

As of Tuesday, Hungarian authorities will receive and start processing asylum requests at the border and transport those who apply by bus to camps elsewhere in the country.

Those migrants who refuse to cooperate will be kept at the border, and those who cross the border illegally, trying to avoid police, face arrest and possible imprisonment. "The new rules to take effect from tomorrow will strengthen the protection of Hungarian borders," Orban told the policemen gathered in one of Budapest's main squares.

A government website said 868 new officers were inaugurated at the ceremony.

Orban said the scale of migration required new policemen to start work before finishing their studies to defend Hungarian sovereignty and the local way of life.

Police said Hungarian authorities have opened new temporary reception centres in the western towns of Kormend and Szentgotthard.

A Reuters photographer in Roszke on the southern border with Serbia said thousands of migrants were being taken by trains towards the border with Austria.