Budapest, June 29 (MTI) – A conflict of a religious nature between two refugees at the Debrecen camp was allegedly behind the altercation that happened on a nearby road on Monday afternoon.
About 100 migrants staying at the refugee camp in Debrecen, in eastern Hungary, started throwing stones at cars passing by on road 471 and beating the vehicles with sticks, according to eye-witnesses. There have been no reports of any injuries, MTI’s local correspondent said from the site.
Police appeared in raid gear and managed to drive the refugees back into the camp, behind a fence where they remained in a line, facing police and shouting, the correspondent said.
The conflict turned violent after 2.30 pm when two refugees engaged in a row over religious matters, the local county police said. The argument turned heated and “hundreds of others” joined in, including a man who allegedly “stamped his feet on the Koran”, police said, citing eye-witnesses. Another witness said one refugee took the other’s Koran, which contained 200 euros hidden among the pages.
Police spokesperson Erika Demeter said the refugees blocked the nearby highway, lit rubbish bins and threw stones at cars passing by. Fully 154 police officers were sent to the site, a police statement said. One police officer took a hit from a stone and was slightly hurt, the statement said.
Police used tear gas to disperse the group. Nobody was hurt, Demeter said. One man was arrested.
The camp has been sealed off temporarily and migrants are allowed only to enter the premises, MTI’s correspondent said from the site. Police presence remains high by the camp, he added.
Debrecen cannot accept this situation, Laszlo Papp, the local mayor, said, arriving at the site.
“It was only a question of time that a conflict would break out at the overcrowded camp,” Papp said. He added that he supported the government’s efforts to stop migration inflow with “a physical block” at the border.
The government commissioner for the local county Robert Racz said there where 1,900 people accommodated at the camp on Monday morning but the facility only has a capacity to hold 800. He said closing the camp in Debrecen would be the long-term solution.
Three lawmakers for the ruling parties whose constituencies are in Debrecen said “Hungary’s refugee camps should be sealed off, regardless of what the European Union says” and the pre-2012 state of having immigration authorities guard them should be reinstated. The left’s idea that the numbers and capacity of camps should be increased “will only lead to continuous conflict,” the statement by Laszlo Posan, Lajos Kosa and Laszlo Taso said.