Third night of Hungarian protests


Thousands of people have gathered outside the Hungarian parliament in Budapest for a third night to demand the resignation of the government. On previous nights the protests have led to violent clashes, which police say have been orchestrated by far-right groups and known football hooligans. PM Ferenc Gyurcsány remains defiant and has said he will not tolerate violence. The protests were sparked by a leaked tape in which Gyurcsány said they lied about the economy to win re-election. The Socialist leader has resisted opposition calls to resign, and says he remains committed to a program of tough economic reforms. Gyurcsány told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday he would have "no patience" with rioters. "The government will hold firm on the only track possible: the policies of reform to ensure development and economic stability," he said. One hundred and forty police officers have so far been hurt in the street violence in Hungary, and a similar number of protesters detained, according to the latest police figures. The Socialist government has blamed the right-wing opposition for not doing enough to calm the situation. Viktor Orbán, the leader of Fidesz - the main opposition conservative party - said that the local elections in Hungary, due to take place in two weeks time, should act as a referendum. "The situation is that in Hungary today, the legitimacy of the government has become questionable," he said. "It does not have the basic trust necessary to enjoy the support of the electorate, nor does it have the basic trust necessary to complete any program to manage the financial crisis." If the Socialist party is defeated, he suggested, they should step down and be replaced, for a limited period, by a government of experts. A student demonstration planned for Thursday, against tuition fee, has been cancelled because of the tension in the capital. Leaders of the HÖOK (Students National Self Government) said they would delay their demonstration, because they could not secure their demonstrators from the violent people disturbing events, and they do not want to give them opportunity to make trouble. But a large gathering planned for Saturday by Fidesz is still going ahead. (BBC News)
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