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Eight injured as far right demonstrators clash with police in Budapest

Eight people were injured Monday evening when thousands of far right anti-government demonstrators clashed with riot police ahead of the anniversary of Hungary’s 1956 uprising against former Soviet rule, the MTI News Agency reported.

The clash occurred on streets near the Opera House in downtown Budapest where Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány was attending a gala concert commemorating the Oct. 23 anniversary. Riot police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators, who had their faces covered and threw Molotov cocktails and bottles at police and set a police vehicle on fire, chanting “Down with Gyurcsány!” and “To arms!” The injured included a Reuters photographer, who suffered head wounds, two Hungarian journalists and five police officers, the news agency said. At least 12 demonstrators were detained by the police. The demonstrators had marched to the Opera House from their earlier demonstration at Szabadság Square near parliament, despite a police ban on the movement.

Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány gave a speech at the opera gala, hailing democracy and freedom gained in the long decades after the 1956 uprising. The demonstrators oppose the prime minister’s economic reforms and demanded Gyurcsány’s resignation. By 23:30 local time, demonstrators had left the streets and other major rally sites, and no further disturbances were reported. But police said they would be on stand-by during the night. (