Social media users have shown their support for Syrian refugees with the hashtag #RefugeesWelcome. There is hope among many that it will push governments around the world to help the tens of thousands of people making their way from the war-torn country to safer lands. Support rallied together quickly after the images of drowned toddler Alyan Kundi released on Friday.
The Independent started a campaign as soon as the photos spread, using #RefugeesWelcome as an easy way for people to find it. More than 350,000 people have signed the petition so far, and it quickly forced the U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron to change his stance on current U.K. policy. The British publication wants individuals to keep the pressure on the Prime Minister and other governments around the world by signing and sharing the Change.org petition.
— The Independent (@Independent) September 5, 2015
Over the weekend, thousands of refugees made their way across the border from Hungary to Austria. The Hungarian officials put on buses overnight when thousands started walking the dangerous motorway, putting themselves and road users’ lives at risk. They were met in Austria with a mixture of cheers, warm blankets, food and water, and medical aid.
However, hundreds were left stranded between the border and Budapest train station, while thousands were left stranded at the train station. They heard on Saturday morning that the buses were a one-off, starting hundreds more to gather together to arrange another walk across the motorway.
Austria and Germany had lessened their border controls over the weekend, encouraging more to make their way to the two countries. However, Austria now says that this was just an emergency measure, and the random checks to help protect against human trafficking will go back into effect from Monday. It should not affect genuine asylum seekers.
While #RefugeesWelcome continues to trend on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites, it has not changed the view of all countries’ political leaders. Israel continues to deny people, saying that it cannot be “flooded with illegal migrants and terrorists.” According to the Washington Post, the country’s people want to see refugees allowed in, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the country is too small.
#RefugeesWelcome is being used to share photos of migrants crossing the border. While there are millions in support, there are still some who believe it is not their problem. The crisis has also split governments and led to country leaders arguing among themselves. There are various petitions for people to share #RefugeesWelcome, but it is unclear whether it will change the views of political leaders.
[Photo by Dan Kitwood / Getty Images]