Hungary closes its southern border to asylum seekers – a photographic essay

September 15, 2015

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26 years after Hungary dismantled the barbed-wire fence on its border with Austria, award-winning Hungarian photographer Márton Magócsi captures the events preceding and following the completion of a razor-wire fence along its border with Serbia, hastily erected to stem the flow of tens of thousands of asylum seekers into Hungary and the European Union.

The “temporary” fence is completed.  The international train crossing has been sealed with a razor-wire barrier.  Over the course of Monday it was still easy to cross from Serbia into Hungary on foot.  But that has come to an end.  Captured below is the final day of Hungary’s open border with Serbia.

Many buses awaited new arrivals to the Röszke collection area.   Photo: Márton Magócsi
Many buses awaited new arrivals to the Röszke collection area.  Photo: Márton Magócsi
Migrants continuously arrived over the course of the day  Photo:  Márton Magócsi
Migrants continuously arrived over the course of the day.  Photo: Márton Magócsi
The presence of soldiers and the media could be felt near the border  Photo: Márton Magócsi
The presence of soldiers and the media could be felt near the border.   Photo: Márton Magócsi
BKV buses lined up along a corn field to transport asylum seekers to the Austrian border  Photo:  Márton Magócsi
BKV buses lined up along a corn field to transport asylum seekers to the Austrian border.  Photo: Márton Magócsi
Upon arrival to the collection area, everybody was quickly put on buses for the Austrian border  Photo: Márton Magócsi
Upon arrival to the collection area, asylum seekers were quickly put on buses for the Austrian border.  Photo: Márton Magócsi
Volunteers distributing food and water to asylum seekers in the Serbian side of the border  Photo: Márton Magócsi
Volunteers distributing food and water to asylum seekers in the Serbian side of the border.  Photo: Márton Magócsi
Serbian policemen directs asylum seekers from refugee camp to buses leaving for Horgos. Photo: Márton Magócsi
A Serbian policemen directs asylum seekers from refugee camp to buses leaving for Horgos.  Photo: Márton Magócsi
After authorities closed the border crossing at Röszke, refugees continued to cross via old Route 5  Photo: Márton Magócsi
After authorities closed the border crossing at Röszke, refugees continued to cross into Hungary via Route 5.  Photo: Márton Magócsi
Those arriving to the Hungarian border before midnight allowed to enter  Photo: Márton Magócsi
Those arriving to the Hungarian border before midnight were allowed to enter Hungary.   Photo: Márton Magócsi
Refugees arriving to Hungary via train track taking a short cut to the border crossing  Photo: Márton Magócsi
Asylum seekers taking a short cut to the border crossing.  Photo: Márton Magócsi
Asylum seekers forced by Hungary's border fence to through a marsh  Photo: Márton Magócsi
Hungary’s border fence forced asylum seekers seeking to cross into Hungary to walk across a marsh.  Photo: Márton Magócsi
Hungarian police used Arab interpreters to inform refugees that the border is closed  Photo: Márton Magócsi
Hungarian police used Arab interpreters to inform refugees that the border is closed.  Photo: Márton Magócsi
Buses continued to deliver refugees to Horgos from other parts of Serbia late into the night  Photo: Márton Magócsi
Buses continued to deliver refugees to Horgos from other parts of Serbia late into the night.  Photo: Márton Magócsi
One final group of asylum seekers enters Hungary just before midnight  Photo: Márton Magócsi
One final group of asylum seekers enters Hungary just before midnight.  Photo: Márton Magócsi
Asylum seekers arriving to the border after midnight were not allowed to cross into Hungary  Photo: Márton Magócsi
Asylum seekers arriving to the border after midnight were not allowed to cross into Hungary.  Photo: Márton Magócsi