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Hungary declares state of emergency over refugee crisis

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Hungarian Interior Minister Sandor Pinter (AFP photo)

Hungary’s Interior Minister Sandor Pinter says Budapest is declaring a state of emergency in response to a “crisis situation” related to refugees and plans to strengthen the country’s border protection.

On Wednesday, Pinter said the country was deploying police forces and army troops to patrol its borders in the southern area.

"Hungary will strengthen protection of its borders, and we declare a crisis situation due to migration for the entire country," the Hungarian minister said.

He added that the measures were necessary due to uncertainty about the whereabouts of refugees stranded across the Balkans.

Refugees and asylum-seekers walk toward a refugee center after crossing the Croatian-Slovenian border near Brezice on October 23, 2015. (AFP photo)

Pinter said Budapest is also making preparations along its borders with Romania in order to set up a fence in the area over the next 10 days, adding that Romania has pledged to prevent any refugees from reaching Hungary via its borders.

Refugees rest as a policeman watches them near Hungary's border fence on the Serbian side of the border near Morahalom, Hungary, February 22, 2016. (Reuters photo)

On Tuesday, police detained 127 refugees who had entered Hungary, mostly through a border fence with Serbia.

Hungary had declared a state of emergency in a number of counties affected directly by the entry of refugees last year.

Police officers stand guard on a border bridge at the Hungarian-Croatian border of Letenye on October 17, 2015, after the border between Hungary and Croatia was closed. (AFP photo)

Slovenia and neighboring Croatia have already announced that they would from Wednesday refuse the transit of most refugees and asylum seekers through their territory in a bid to seal off the Balkan route used by hundreds of thousands seeking a new life in European Union nations, with most hoping to settle in Germany.

Meanwhile, an unnamed Greek official said there are early indications that patrols by NATO forces in the eastern Aegean Sea are significantly reducing the number of refugees traveling from Turkey to Greek islands.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing conflict-ridden zones in Africa and the Middle East have trekked across the Balkans route from Greece to northern Europe.

Refugees wait on their way to the Croatian-Slovenian border after disembarking from a train on October 23, 2015 in Kljuc Brdovecki, Croatia. (AFP photo)

EU states along the route, however, have been tightening their borders making the already perilous journey across the sea and land in rain, snow and cold more difficult for the refugees.

Many blame major European powers for the unprecedented exodus, saying their policies have led to a surge in terrorism and war in those regions, forcing more people to flee their homes.


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