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Asylum seekers in Austria cross German border

A large number of asylum seekers waiting at the Salzburg central railway station made their way across the German border on foot, authorities said on Wednesday.

About 1,400 asylum seekers had stayed on the premises overnight, refusing offers to stay in accommodation elsewhere as they wished to be close to the station to catch the next possible train across the nearby border into Germany, Xinhua reported.

Later in the morning the number had reportedly increased to 2,000 people, with constant stream of people arriving via buses, taxis and private cars.

As the German train authority Deutsche Bahn froze all services going from Salzburg into the neighbouring German state of Bavaria due to overcrowding, a large portion of those waiting then chose to make the journey into Freilassing, just across the border, on foot.

They left in small groups. The journey to the border is about 6 kilometres. By mid-day only about 500 remained at the Salzburg station. Police said the situation had calmed somewhat.

They said the asylum seekers had largely turned down offers to remain at quarters in Austria, wishing only to cross into Germany. As they were in small groups, the authorities did not deem them to be a safety threat.

Despite similar overcrowding in Freilassing, authorities reported an easing by mid-day, with a special train transporting 400 asylum seekers to Dusseldorf.