Following of Céline Barré’s chronicle on the road of the exiles in the Balkans.
Horgos. Hungarian border – September 18.
3000 people stranded at the border. A wall, barbed wire, Hungarian policemen and a European flag flying away. It’s hot and there is only one water point for 3000 people. People sit in front of the barbed wire barriers, the crowd chants “We love Hungaria, we love hungarian police”, “we want to go to germany“, “we want freedom”.
Syrian children naively repeat “open the door, open the door.”
These people want only pass through Hungary, they do not want to stay there, just continue with their journey.
Tension rises. On the Hungarian side, they bring a water tank, a kind of karcher at very high pressure. The families hope to pass while they have their bags on the back and the kids in their arms. A group of 10 people gets excited and finally opens the first barrier. A cry of joy, hope, but lasts the time of a few seconds. Hungarian police charges, gas the crowd.
Near me, a family with a baby of six months is gassed. The baby suffocates, the mother panics. The crowd turns back and many children fall to the ground, are trampled. Police continue to gas.
The tear gas burns the eyes, throat, lungs. The gas pricks the skin, becomes embedded in clothing. It takes more than 10 minutes to restore normal breathing. Some vomit, cry a lot. Mothers yell their rage. Some young people decide to throw apples, stones at the security forces. Hungarians respond with their karchers. The pressure is such that for an hour, it’s chaos.
The rage, fatigue, injustice, it creates the rebellion and violence. Who does not revolt when good little soldiers gas children? On the Serbian side, police officers smoke cigarettes, laugh at the situation, passively watching people running, children crying …. what happens here, it‘s not their problem.
The tension goes down, young people gather again at the gate and back to their peace slogans. “We just want peace.” The boys are recovering slowly from the effects of gas but the fear is there.ak In front of them, barbed wire and hundreds of police.
A few minutes later, a rumor bre out, they opened the border. We hear the applause. The crowd reform and people return to the Hungarian side. The border seems open. Mothers take their children under the arms and go again on the way.
“Thank you, good luck and see you in Francia” says one father. It seems to be a trap, but they move forward.
Then screams, again gas, water at high pressure. People turn around, gassed again. Children screaming, babies do not even have reactions. Police charges.
It was a joke.
People have been able to advance 30 meters in Hungary and the police charged, gassed, bludgeoned, sprayed. Journalist tearful comes back from “the front”; she made bludgeoned by the police. The air is unbreathable several meters. A mother screams her anger and powerlessness towards the police, her 8 year old daughter follows her, they are gassed again. It is also that “Refugees Welcome“.
A camp settles a few meters from the border, bringing together 3,000 people. Others will arrive tomorrow. No water, no electricity, no toilets, no food. Nothing. We are in a Serbian meadow on the Hungarian border. Almost no humanitarian assistance and 3 UNHCR people lost.
A queue forms at the only water source. Fathers wash clothes of their children, remove the tear gas from their clothes otherwise they risk allergies, burns and respiratory problems.
Two trucks bring food, that is to say bread. No organization for distribution so that’s the rush. They throw bread to people as they throw the cattle food.
Welcome to Europe, this is our way of making you understand our level of consideration to you and your families. We gaze you then throw you bread.
Two empty buses arrive on the spot to deter refugees to stay here at the border. There is a refugee camp a few tens of kilometers. A nice inclosure just for you! You will have some food and a blanket in addition! Think to your children, do not stay there … and then anyway your journey is over, it stops there. You see, this is Serbia! And remember … If you attempt any resistance … we will start to gas your kids again. So silently now, get on the bus and go to camp!