Budapest, October 24 (MTI) – Opposition parties have slammed what they called “harassment” of anti-government protestors by participants at Sunday’s state celebrations commemorating Hungary’s 1956 anti-Soviet uprising.
The leftist Democratic Coalition (DK) said that the way Sunday’s celebrations had been conducted, namely that the prime minister delivered his speech “behind cordons and surrounded by members of the security service” while protestors demonstrating against him “were being harassed”, were “serious warning signs” for Viktor Orbán.
Anti-government protesters used referee whistles, horns and rattlers to try to disrupt Sunday’ state celebrations at Kossuth Square in front of Parliament, and got especially loud during Orban’s speech. Several scuffles broke out between demonstrators and those who were there for the celebrations.
DK spokesman Zsolt Gréczy said that after the past weekend, Orbán had lost the “moral grounds” to be “outraged” over the events of the autumn of 2006, when anti-government protests regularly turned violent, leading to clashes between protestors and police. Gréczy said DK had chosen not to take part in the protest at Kossuth Square because they considered it important to mark the national holiday “with dignity”.
Meanwhile, the Dialogue Party has called on the police to review footage of Sunday’s scuffles and launch investigations against those who had “harassed” protestors. Dialogue board member Richárd Barabás told a press conference that the “unity” of the national holiday had been “violated by physical abuse”. Barabás insisted that those who had “assaulted” the protestors had been “riled up” by the prime minister.
The Liberal Party blamed the government for the celebrations “turning violent”. Liberal Party leader Gábor Fodor said the incidents that had transpired during and after the state event were “unworthy” of the spirit of 1956 or a European democracy.
Parliamentary leader of the ruling Fidesz party, Lajos Kósa, told a news conference on Monday that in accordance with the high risks associated with an event of the nature of the national commemoration of 1956, several measures such as cordons and crowd-control devices had been used.
He called the dog-whistles during the commemoration “immeasurably crass”.
Commenting on the situation on Sunday which some have compared to the dismantling of cordons by Fidesz officials in 2007, he said Fidesz politicians had acted in an empty square and had not taken down cordons which were there to guarantee the public’s safety.