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Hungarian Pavilion under blockade at Venice Biennale

History

A day before the anticipated deadline for the completion of Hungary’s wire fence on the Serbian border, activists from a group called #fenceforeurope placed the Hungarian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale under blockade by setting up a fence and billboards with mockups of the billboards put up by the Hungarian government.

Screenshot of a Twitter post showing the blockade at the Hungarian Pavilion.

Billboards that are shown at the demonstration include one from the government’s earlier anti-immigrant campaign saying: “If you come to Hungary you must respect our laws”, and another from the government’s latest “info” campaign showing a young woman saying: “We don’t want illegal immigrants!”, next to text saying: “Hungarian reforms are working.”

Passers-by were also handed flyers with the exact translation of Hungary’s national consultation on immigration, which has been widely criticized as being misleading and portraying immigrants as terrorists. “We are using the same tools the Hungarian government has been using in the past months, partly to intimidate Hungarian citizens and partly to close our country’s southern border,” Hungarian online daily artportal.hu cited the announcement by the group. The group also emphasized that all material they are using is the exact translation of material written by the Hungarian government, without any modifications.

The event took place yesterday, a day prior to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s deadline for completing the temporary wire fence on the Hungarian-Serbian border. The fence is meant to slow the massive influx of refugees arriving in Hungary, but last week saw a record number of arrivals, exceeding 3,000 for two days in a row.

While the Hungarian government says it believes that the temporary measure will work until the European Union as a whole finds a solution to the problem, the international press criticized the fence as being a “pointless PR exercise”, and, at the same time, photo reports around the world have shown refugees crossing the fence and entering the country.

The protest group said they are concerned that “armed violence” will soon erupt in Europe, and “as time passes” there will be “fences in Europe, dividing people based on financial and social differences”, Hungarian online daily hvg.hu reported.

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