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Refugee crisis: Bridge linking Austria to Germany provides an unremarkable end to an extraordinary journey

The thin concrete footbridge linking Austria to Germany provides an unremarkable end to an extraordinary journey.

Penned in by the Austrian authorities, groups of people seeking a new life here are let through painfully slowly. Just a dozen or so every 20 minutes.

At the other side, German police take them into tents, search them, then shepherd them onto a coach.

If they thought this would be a warm welcome, they were wrong.

They're fingerprinted, questioned, then taken off to transit camps. Their journey may be over, but now another long, anxious process begins.

Refugees are fingerprinted and then taken to camps. Credit: ITV News
A mother embraces her child at the German camp. Credit: ITV News
Refugees travel thousands of miles to get to Germany. Credit: ITV News

Not all of these people will have their applications for residency accepted. There are far too many of them for that.

The German government announced back in August that it would throw its doors open to all Syrian refugees. Now, it seems, they may retract that policy.

One thing's for sure, those who aren't from Syria have a far slimmer chance of settling here, but the truth is, no-one really knows what's going to happen. Least of all the German government themselves.

This crisis is causing chaos. Barriers are going up across Europe again. A fence was erected along the Austrian border today and police are checking passports on crossing points that should be open.

Some fear the frontiers may close again for good.

A sign on the German border. Credit: ITV News

We've had an unforgettable week on the long road across Europe.

We've met some remarkable people and heard some extraordinary stories.

There have been some heartbreaking scenes along the way, too.

This evening I'm in Munich, the last leg of the route so many have taken, but I don't feel any sense of finality.

Tonight we're filing the last report in our series, but the story's not over.

Not by a long way.

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