After weeks of rising anti-migrant sentiment reflected in riots and political posturing across Europe, around 20,000 people on Monday evening took part in a pro-refugee rally in Vienna.
The sympathisers marched carrying banners reading “Human Rights are Borderless” and “ No Person is illegal”.
Earlier a memorial in Vienna’s Cathedral was held for the 71 refugees found dead last week in an abandoned lorry on an Austrian Highway.
The tragedy highlighted the dangers faced by migrants at the hands of traffickers when they finally reach Europe.
In Munich train loads of refugees began arriving from Hungary. With border controls eliminated in the Schengen area migrants are intent on moving to the blocs more prosperous countries.
Many had fled war zones such as Syria:
“A bomb car exploded and I get shot here, and my father (he wanted to say brother) and me decided to go out of Syria, me and my brother, my little brother to get a better life and to continue my studies. I am studying civil engineering at Damascus University,” said one newly arrived refugee in Munich.
For many refugees Angela Merkel is a heroine. Germany has taken more asylum seekers than any other EU country despite a backlash from the far-right, and the chancellor has repeated her call for other member states to do more.