In the latest Magyar Közlöny (“Hungarian Gazette“), a decision was published according to which the government “agrees to the expansion of the field guard service in several Hungarian localities near the border,” so that these municipalities receive state financial support for this purpose. The mayor of Ásotthalom leads a group of this kind (a so-called “field guard group”), which, among other things, seeks out and detains migrants at the border. For this reason, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ) has asked police to investigate whether the organization has the right to such activity. The police reportedly ordered an investigation.
This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute. Translated by Júlia Tar.
A total of HUF 170 million (471,550 euros) will be provided to several municipalities, including Mórahalom, Röszke, Zákányszék, Ruzsa-Öttömös, Kelebia, Tompa, Bácsalmás, Ásotthalom, and Domaszék, to operate so-called “field guard groups” in their area. Mórahalom received the highest grant, almost 75 million forints. But funds were also awarded in Öttömös, where Prime Minister Viktor Orbán recently visited a pig slaughter. The border settlement will receive almost 13 million forints.
The government will allocate 25 million forints for the same purpose to Ásotthalom, where the mayor is László Toroczkai, the chairman of the far-right “Mi Hazánk” (“Our Homeland”) movement. The politician has previously published several videos showing “field guards” armed with rifles searching the forest at night for illegal border crossers.
After the publication of these videos, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ) has asked government officials and the police to investigate whether Toroczkai’s organization is working legally in the locality.
According to TASZ, the task of the field guards is to protect the agricultural land, machinery, or buildings. “If they catch someone damaging or setting fire to straw storage, for example, they have the right to take coercive measures. They can stop the crime and notify the authorities. But they don’t have the authority to perform organized law enforcement or border protection duties,” Erna Landgraf, a TASZ officer said in an earlier statement.
Featured image: screen capture from László Toroczkai’s YouTube video