Police repeatedly tried to form lines blocking roadways around a migrant holding centre near the border village of Roszke, but the asylum seekers vastly outnumbered police and were easily able to outflank the lines of officers, jogging through farm fields to reach the M5 motorway linking Hungary to Serbia.
Traffic was halted in both directions as backpack-clad asylum seekers walked briskly on the edge of the highway, groups of police walking alongside them but not trying to stop them. A lone police helicopter monitored their progress at sunset.
As the lead marchers passed media filming their progress from a highway overpass, dozens raised their arms in celebration and chanted “Germany! Germany!”
The move mirrored last week’s surge of migrants west from the capital, Budapest, toward Austria in mass protests that forced Hungarian authorities to relent on security grounds and move thousands in a fleet of buses to the Austrian border.
Hungary also has stopped checking foreigners for travel visas at train stations, making it easier for the newcomers to leave Hungary for the wealthier West, particularly Germany.
Monday’s renewed trouble underscored the growing sense across the continent that the 28-nation European Union must reach a continent-wide agreement on sharing responsibility for sheltering more of the estimated 340,000 asylum seekers who have arrived in the 28-nation bloc already this year.