AS many as 1,000 refugees yesterday began an exodus from Hungary as the country continues its crackdown on asylum seekers.

Some barefoot, others using crutches, the crowds took to motorways to walk 100 miles from Budapest to the Austrian border.

It was a desperate measure to escape the country that had become a prison after authorities prevented onward travel from Budapest’s main station.

Thousands have spent days living in Keleti station seeking travel to Germany and other EU states.

However, frustration grew after international services were suspended as Hungarian President Viktor Orban vowed to stop refugees entering his country.

He said: “Today we are talking about tens of thousands but next year we will be talking about millions and this has no end.

“We have to make it clear that we can’t allow everyone in, because if we allow everyone in, Europe is finished.

“If you are rich and attractive to others, you also have to be strong because if not, they will take away what you have worked for and you will be poor too.”

Hundreds of refugees had earlier broken through a police cordon and fled from a train being held near an asylum camp at Bicske, running down the track.

Officers could only block a small number of the estimated 500 passengers, pushing them back on board in chaotic scenes as children screamed and cried.

The shuttle had been there for more than 24 hours and a Pakistani man is said to have died after hitting his head on the tracks while escaping.

Many of the passengers had bought tickets for Berlin or Vienna and boarded the service on Thursday in the belief that it was bound for the Austrian border.

However, security forces stopped it less than 30 minutes after leaving Budapest as they tried to take the travellers to the Bicske camp.

Many refugees do not want to register in Hungary, which is more likely to return them to the countries they have fled than other western European nations.

Osama Morzar, 23, had removed his fingerprints with acid to prevent the authorities from taking his details in a bid to avoid repatriation to Syria. The pharmacology student said: “The government of Hungary is very bad. The United Nations should help.” Fellow Syrian Adnan Shanan, 35, spoke of growing numbers of sick people and pregnant women enduring conditions with no food or water. He said: “We don’t need to stay here one more day. We need to move to Munich, to anywhere else, we can’t stay here. We can’t wait until tomorrow.”

Around 70 people broke out of that camp as another break-out by around 300 people at the Roszke holding centre led authorities to close the country’s main border crossing with Serbia temporarily.

As many as 140,000 refugees have crossed the southern border to Hungary so far this year, but Orban’s anti-immigration government has now passed a series of laws effectively locking that door.

So-called “transit zones” to hold asylum seekers awaiting processing have been created, with those not approved facing deportation.

Fresh legislation also makes it illegal to cross or damage the country’s new razor-wire fence along the Serbian border.

Crossing the border illegally now carries a punishment of up to three years’ imprisonment.

However, Orban, who says the crisis is “a German problem”, argues the measures are necessary to prevent Europeans from becoming “a minority in our own continent”.

However, there is sympathy for the struggling crowds marching down the motorway. One woman was seen handing out bank notes while a pensioner passed a blanket into the hands of one mother.

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