Demonstrators gathered in front of a church in the city’s square before walking to a border area surrounded by razor wire fences where they demanded the release of a Syrian who was sentenced last year to a 10-year prison term for throwing stones and bottles at police on the border.

Actor Arpar Schilling told the crowd the government’s treatment of refugees is inhumane and disgraceful.

Hungary is an essential route used by refugees attempting to reach norther and western Europe and has faced heavy criticism for building razor wire fences along its borders with Serbia and Croatia, subjecting refugees to tear gas and water cannons, increasing penalties for illegal migration and last March declared a state of emergency on border areas.

Some groups have accused security officials of violence against refugees.

Lawmakers have allowed refugees, including children, to stay at border camps while asylum request are processed but refugees who are in the country illegally face deportation.

Anadolu Agency