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Hungarian government starts investigation into street violence

Hungary's government today started a probe of the causes and consequences of the country's worst street violence in 50 years, including action by police on October 23 that the opposition said was excessively forceful.

Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány assembled a panel of nine professors, retired police leaders, constitutional lawyers and Hungary's former chief prosecutor, the government said in an e- mailed statement. He will expect a report by Januar 31. Anti-government protests and riots have gripped the country the past two months. Demonstrators clashed with police several times, leaving about 400 people injured. The most recent violence was on October 23, the anniversary of Hungary's 1956 uprising against the communists. Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse crowds. “There has been no example of violent actions in Hungary akin to those in September and October,” the government said. “The thorough professional analysis and the drawing of lessons is the fundamental interest of the country.” Gyurcsány, who has faced calls for his resignation since a tape leaked from a closed Socialist meeting revealed that he lied about the economy to win re-election in April, wants the panel to explore the historical background of the riots. That includes the social aspects and whether police action contravened human rights, the statement said. (Bloomberg)