Sep 21, 2008

Over a thousand far-right anti-government protesters march in downtown Budapest

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungarian police fired tear gas and clashed with more than a thousand anti-government protesters who attacked riot police with petrol bombs and cobblestones in Budapest on Saturday.

Protesters from the far-right gathered around a downtown monument to the Soviet Red Army, attacked police who guarded the memorial and chanted anti-government and anti-Semitic slogans.

Far-right protests have become frequent since 2006, when Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany admitted in a leaked speech that he lied about the state of the economy to win re-election. His remarks were followed by Hungary's worst violence in decades.

On Saturday, police pushed hundreds of protesters, some of whom wore swastikas, through downtown streets, continuously firing tear gas.

The clashes came just hours after several liberal groups, including the Democratic Charta, founded in part by the Socialist prime minister, and a Roma organization gathered in Budapest to protest against far right organizations which they said were becoming increasingly powerful and menacing.

Gyurcsany, one of Hungary's most disliked politicians, has struggled to amass popular support after his government enacted hefty tax and price hikes in 2006 to reduce the biggest budget deficit in the 27-nation European Union.

(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi)

Far right supporters stage demonstration in Budapest

Budapest, September 20 (MTI) - Simultaneously with demonstrations by the anti-violence Democratic Charter and another by Roma organisations, some 500 supporters of the radical right Jobbik party and other extreme right organisations gathered in Budapest's Heroes' Square on Saturday afternoon.

Jobbik head Gabor Vona addressed the protesters and said that "Hungary belongs to the Hungarians" and voiced hope that at the next elections his non-parliamentary party would garner a much larger share of the votes than the five percent required to get seats in the national assembly.

The demonstrators, many of whom were waving the national colours or the red-white stripes associated with the far right, are scheduled to march down Andrassy Boulevard and proceed toward central Budapest's Szabadsag Square near Parliament.

Participants of the rally have put up placards on the iron railing with which the police cordoned off a part of Heroes' Square for the demonstration, with slogans saying "Gyurcsany out" and "Dissolve parliament" or "Traitors, thieves", MTI's on-site correspondent reported.

Several hundred riot police are also reported to be deployed in nearby streets.

Below are some older videos from the demonstrations and riots of 2006. The Far-Right and fascists have been active if not spearheading many of the anti-government protests in Budapest. The government of former Stalinist turned "social democrat" Ferenc Gyurcsány has come under increasing pressure from Right and nationalist groups. The main issue used to mobilize popular opposition to the governemnt wsa the leaked audiop recordings in which Gyurcsány states, "we lied throughout the last year-and-a-half, two years. It was totally clear that what we are saying is not true. You cannot quote any significant government measure we can be proud of ".

Increasing opposition to the government corresponded to the 50th anniversary of Hungarian Revolution of 1956 in which the populace revolted against Soviet domination. The Hungarian Revolution was a mass, popular revolt that manifested itself in varying forms of revolt and attempts to create working class organizations of self-management and defense. Eventually, the Soviets ruthlessly crushed the Revolution - after calls by the Hungarian revolutionaries for international defense went ignored - and executed or imprisoned thousands.

In recent years the radical anti-authoritarian and libertarian impulses of the Revolution have been replaced by interpreting the Revolution as a purely "Nationalist" event. It's on this that the Far-Right and fascists have been able to position themselves as the true inheritors of the Hungarian rebels of '56.

The videos here is to give an idea of the mood within Budapest. I'm not always sure the political perspective that the videos are coming from, though the first one is put to the music of the California Leftwing and anarchist band, Ignite. The second song on the video is a re-done version of Bleeding, with lyrics changed to reflect the situation in Hungary.

In another video you see the crowd take control of a tank. Frightening, but simultaneously funny, the protesters drive the tank into their own ranks nearly running their own people over. In such a situation we couldn't imagine driving a tank is easy, but the main point is that the protesters are meaning some serious "direct action" against the cops as it was reported to have been used later to drive into the police.