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Hungarian secret service files blame far-right groups for riot

Hungary opened secret service reports on the October 23 riots in Budapest and claimed far-right political groups incited some of the violence.

Two audio files identified on the Web site for the Prime Minister's Office as tapped phone conversations between protest organizers suggest rioters wanted to pull police onto a nearby rally by the largest opposition party Fidesz. Seven other files, labeled as recordings from police communications, show authorities attempted to keep protesters away from the rally. “Speed it up, disperse it, the protesting crowd can't disturb the Fidesz rally,” a police commander said, according to the transcript. “The whole mass is now connected,” he said 10 minutes later. “We can't push any further.” The ruling Socialist Party and Fidesz have traded blows over police action on October 23, when anti-government protests turned into riots on the day of the 50th anniversary of Hungary's anti-communist uprising. Police used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons to disperse crowds, eventually storming a barricade at 1:30 a.m. Fidesz accused authorities of brutality and attacking peaceful protesters and also claimed police purposely pushed demonstrators toward its event at Astoria in central Budapest. The government, which originally planned to classify the secret service files for 80 years, denies that was the tactic. “Wind up the cops a bit, but without a clash, and pull them toward Astoria,” one man identified as “Debil,” or “retard” in Hungarian, says on the recording posted on the Prime Minister's Office Web site. “That's what we want, this is exactly what we went out for. We didn't want to kill anybody here, you know,” replies a voice identified as “Gyik,” or “lizard.”

Hungary has been gripped in more than a month of anti- government protests and street violence, the worse since the revolt in 1956. The demonstrations started on Sept. 17 when media got hold of a recording leaked from a closed Socialist Party meeting in which Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány admitted to lying about the economy to win re-election in April. Riots broke out the next day, with protesters seizing the headquarters of state television and burning cars. Clashes between police and rioters continued for two nights and restarted on Oct. 23, leaving about 400 people injured. Police shot 1,700 tear-gas grenades, lost eight cars, one water cannon and dozens of shields during the violence, the Népszabadság newspaper reported today, without citing sources. Some 318 officers were hurt and the extra policing has cost Ft 2.5 billion ($12.3 million), the paper said. More than 30 events and protests are planned for tomorrow to mark the anniversary of Soviet troops launching an invasion to crush the 1956 uprising. Hungarian authorities expect far-right political groups to try to start riots again tomorrow, MTI news agency reported, citing György Szilvásy, the minister who oversees the Prime Minister's Office and the secret services. (Bloomberg)