The mayor of a Hungarian town which lies along the Serbian border has urged the country’s government to allow police and military personnel patrolling the border to respond to migrant attacks with live ammunition.
László Toroczkai, the leader of the Our Homeland Movement and mayor of Ásotthalom, has called on the Hungarian government to authorize border guards to use their weapons to protect themselves against violent migrants, who in recent days have attempted to force their way into the country.
“The situation is slowly escalating into a war at the Hungarian-Serbian border,” Toroczkai noted.
“Our Homeland Movement demands that in all cases where violent groups throw bricks or stones at the Hungarian soldiers and police officers who are guarding the Hungarian border, or when they attack Hungarian soldiers and police officers with tear gas or knives or with any other weapons, that Hungarian police officers and soldiers be allowed to use their weapons, and that they respond to such attacks with live ammunition,” Toroczkai said.
Toroczkai’s statement – which may come as a shock to some – comes amid a recent uptick in violence at the Hungarian-Serbian border.
Earlier this month, a group of violent, illegal migrants hurled bricks at border police as they attempted to force their way into Hungary from Serbia. Following the attack, Hungary’s National Security Advisor József Horváth noted that such occurrences were likely to increase as more Afghans show up at the gates of the European Union.
“The latest attack also indicates that illegal migrants, who want to break into Hungary at all costs, are becoming more violent. At the same time, it cannot be ruled out that such an attack, i.e., throwing objects at police officers and soldiers in the territory of another country, is a test of people smugglers, thus testing Hungarian border protection,” Horváth said.
Days earlier, 19 masked migrants threw rocks and other projectiles at Hungarian border officials as they attempted to enter the country from Serbia illegally. After being repelled by authorities, some in the group returned the following day but were ultimately detained by police.
“The migrants also attack with tear gas,” Toroczkai said. “Hungarian soldiers were injured, but then they repelled the attack, and the field guards, with the help of the police, intercepted the illegal border-crossing migrants who had broken in. It’s quite clear that the situation is getting worse.”
It doesn’t end there, unfortunately.
At the end of July, four Hungarian soldiers were injured in Ásotthalom during an incident that saw fifteen or so illegal migrants – nearly all of them young men in good health – lay siege to the Hungarian-Serbian border with canisters of tear gas.
So far this year, authorities in Hungary have prevented more than 54,000 illegal migrants from crossing the border and have prosecuted over 500 smugglers, according to György Bakondi, Hungary’s Chief Security Advisor.
The figures represent a marked increase from the 17,000 illegal migrants caught and the 200 smugglers who were prosecuted at this time last year.
Since the 2015 migrant crisis in Europe, Hungary’s ruling center-right coalition government has remained steadfast in its staunch opposition to illegal migration. As a result, it has become Brussel’s chief boogyman.
“As long as we are in government, no illegal immigrant will set foot in Hungary,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said.