Liberals, if you thought Trump was bad, you have obviously never heard of Laszlo Toroczkai. He is the mayor of Asotthalom, Hungary and he does not mess around. Check it out.
At first glance, the video looks like a Hollywood thriller. Set to strident, aggressive music, it shows a group of muscular men using motorbikes, helicopters and even horses to race across the countryside in pursuit of human quarry.
When the targets are captured, they are wrestled to the ground and their hands bound as the patrol members, in camouflage clothing, stand menacingly over them.
But the ‘narrator’ whose voice can be heard over these chilling scenes is not a highly-paid movie star. He is, in fact, a provincial politician, and his message is unequivocal: ‘Hungary is a bad choice for migrants.’
He’s been true to his word. His team of bounty hunters have caught hundreds of immigrants trying to make it into Hungary, on the way to neighbouring Austria and beyond, on the so-called Balkan smuggling route. The man’s name is Laszlo Toroczkai, a charismatic 45-year-old mayor who has made it his life’s work to prevent what he calls the destruction of his country.
Disturbingly, his views are increasingly being echoed by his compatriots.
Mayor Toroczkai is in charge of a small Hungarian town called Asotthalom, on the border with Serbia — a nation still outside the EU — which was pitched into the centre of the refugee crisis in 2015, when thousands of immigrants started pouring across the unprotected border each day.
The crisis erupted after Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, announced to the world that Europe would welcome refugees, prompting more than one million to head to Germany alone, while hundreds of thousands of others made for Britain, France and Italy.
With locals in Asotthalom — a traditional farming town with a population of 5,000 — finding groups of immigrants sleeping in their gardens and outbuildings, and others watching aghast as thousands streamed through the centre of the village on their way through Europe, the mayor decided enough was enough.
He has introduced a zero-tolerance policy against all migrants, saying that the very future of Europe is at stake because of people he calls Muslim ‘invaders’ and ‘future terrorists’, and has vowed to stop this movement of people.
‘It is very important for the village to preserve its traditions,’ he says. ‘We can see large Muslim communities in western Europe that haven’t been able to integrate — and we don’t want to have the same experience here.’
He has announced new rules for the town he runs, and wants the rest of Hungary to follow suit, banning the building of mosques, making the Muslim call to prayer illegal, and banning the burqa and the ‘burkini’ swimsuit. He says the measures are key to preventing Muslims ‘causing fear, alarm and shock among the locals’.
There is no doubt that millions of his fellow countrymen share his distaste for migrants. The most obvious manifestation of this is the forbidding wire fence — dubbed the new ‘Iron Curtain’ by some — that now stretches 110 miles along the border with Serbia.
The fence was built by Hungarian prisoners and is topped by razor wire. It is also fitted with sophisticated monitoring devices which sound an alarm if the fence is damaged.
In addition, thousands of police and soldiers have been drafted in to patrol the fence — with instructions to forcibly return migrants to Serbia, even when they have made it past the fence and are on their way through Hungary to their final destination.
According to human rights groups and migrants I spoke to this week, the police regularly mete out extreme violence to those trying to sneak into Hungary, beating them and setting dogs on them to try to deter them from making any further attempts.
The mayor’s campaign has struck such a strong chord with local people that it has prompted the Hungarian government to follow suit and join this ‘iron fist’ crackdown against anyone illegally trying to enter the country.
Viktor Orban, the country’s prime minister, has positioned himself as the defender of Europe’s Christian tradition, saying that ‘everything which is now taking place before our eyes threatens to have explosive consequences for the whole of Europe’.
After becoming the first EU leader to endorse Donald Trump as U.S. President, Mr Orban also warned that ‘we shouldn’t forget that the people who are coming here grew up in a different religion and represent a completely different culture. Most are not Christian, but Muslim.’