Budapest, April 24 (MTI) – Civil groups held a demonstration on Sunday against a development project in the City Park, dubbed the Liget Project, which includes constructing a museum quarter.
Over five hundred participants adopted a symbol of their protest, a tree growing out of a clenched fist.
Organisers said that civil groups demanded a halt to the project and planned changes to the park withdrawn. Genuine dialogue should be launched on how to revamp the public park, they added.
“Budapest is one of Europe’s most polluted cities and anyone who wants to cut down a single tree here is on an offensive against the city and its residents,” András Lányi, an activist, said. He said the reason why the City Park would be “turned into a construction site” is that the prime minister had decided to use the National Gallery buildings in the Buda Castle for his own purposes and thus a new building is planned to be built for the gallery in the middle of the City Park.
Hajnalka Schmidt, head of Greenpeace Hungary, insisted that the City Park was the world’s first public park and should be maintained and revamped accordingly. “If buildings 20-40 metres high are built here it will lose its purpose as a public park,” she said, adding that according to a survey, 75 percent of Budapest residents oppose the construction of the new buildings.
The project company Városliget Zrt said in response that as a result of the planned upgrade green spaces in the park would grow from the current 60 to 65 percent. Areas now covered in concrete, roads too wide and unnecessary buildings and car parks will be demolished and rehabilitated with green areas, a statement from the company said on Sunday. Motor traffic through the park will be significantly reduced, too, it added.