On Thursday hundreds of mostly Arab migrants marched to the Serbia-Hungary border to demand the openning of the Hungarian, and thus the European, border crossing point at Serbia's Kelebia. Their march, however, turned out to be a well-organised publicity stunt, as evidenced by the fact that the group had a number of leaders, and that the children and the sick were sent to the front to allow the media to take more effective pictures. The group's action was supported by a pro-migration NGO linked to George Soros, as we have learned from details published or posted online.
According to the on-site correspondent of Hungary's public broadcaster, one of the women was speaking German and trying to persuade Hungarian police officers to let them cross the border, while the other kept appeasing the men who were growing increasingly impatient. Her job was obviously to make sure that the pictures captured by the media portray a decent, peaceful crowd.
The photos and videos captured on site clearly demonstrate that the two women were respected chiefs among the migrants.
The protest stunt has been covered by a wide range of international media outlets. A report published by Infomigrants.net in Arabic claims that some two thousand migrants had gathered at the Serbia-Hungary border, near Subotica, to make their way into the EU in a joint effort. It also points out that Abu Adel, one of the organisers, told Muhajir News that the stunt had been organised in secret WhatsApp groups to prevent authorities from learning about their plans and stopping them.
In the report many confess that they began organising the march because they have spent months waiting for the evaluation of their asylum requests in the hope of being able to continue their journey to Western Europe and start a new life.
However, the number of single men that have joined the migrant caravan was visibly higher than all those families who have been stuck in Serbia for months. One of them, Slama Ali, has uploaded several live reports on the caravan's journey to his Facebook page.Interestingly, his public posts reveal that he was in Thessaloniki on 2 January.
In fact, on 15 January he posted a new update by the sea, sipping RedBull and smoking a Marlboro cigarette, which answers the question of whether or not he had spent months in Serbia in "dire" circumstances.Further examination of the news reports covering Thursday's protest stunt has led to the discovery that two women, also spotted by the daily Ripost newspaper, were very active in the presence of the media.
One of them, who kept pacifying the men, also appears in another photo in a Facebook group she says was specifically created with a view to helping Arab refugees, and where several people had posted updates about new developments taking place at the border.
The other woman who negotiated with the Hungarian police officers was even busier leaving a media footprint. Hungary's public media noticed that while she spoke German to Hungarian border guards, she is using English in a video uploaded to The Levant News website.
The video clearly shows that while a man wearing a scarf is talking to the cameras, some younger men ask her in the background to make a statement, too.
In another video posted on Twitter we see the same woman giving advice to camera crews on what to film, making sure that the recorded footage projects the "right image" in order to influence people.
Kelebija.06.02.2019. Više 100' izbeglica, porodice s malom decom, iz Sirije i Iraka, borave u šumi u blizini granice, zahtevajući da pređu granicu. Srpska policija im onemogućuje prolaz. Porodice su pristigle iz različitih kampova. pic.twitter.com/0sJyaxNprX— Azil u Srbiji Asylum Protection in Serbia (@APC_CZA) February 6, 2020
The organisers of the caravan have also provided migrants with placards and flowers at the meeting point where they took a group picture, as evidenced in the above video. The aim here was the same: to supply ammunition to the media to prove that the migrant group comprises peaceful families who simply want to reach Western Europe in hope of a better life. The woman reappears on the righ-hand side of one of these photos, showing a crowd of placard-wielding migrants equiped with flowers, possibly tasked with making sure that the media gets the "right pictures".
A video published by The Levant News also provides an answer to who's behind the migrants' crossing attempt foiled by the Hungarian Border Guard.
When the group photo is taken, we see a volunteer wearing a visible "CZA" logo on his coat, which stands for "Centar za zaštitu i pomoć tražiocima azila" (Asylum Protection Center). The organisation has shared several posts on the action on its Facebook and Twitter pages, while a news report published by InfoMigrants suggests that members of the caravan had received different types of equipment from the civilians appearing on the photo.
Looking at CZA's website and community pages, it becomes obvious that their main sponsor is George Soros's Open Society Foundations (OSF). The two groups work closely together both in providing financial support and organising various programs for migrants.