Orbán delivers “battle cry” on national holiday

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Hungarians must once more take up their metaphorical arms and go to battle to defend all that the country has achieved over the past years, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in his celebratory address for the October 23 national holiday.

Orbán proclaimed “Glory to the heroes!” to start his speech given at Hősök tere; the PM went on to reiterate that just as in 1956, the year of the Hungarian uprising against Soviet occupation, external forces (Portuguese MEP Rui Tavares was cited by Orbán as an example) aided from within the country are at work against independence and liberty. 

“We are approaching true liberation [and] everyday freedom,” he promised, and that Hungary would never again fall prey to “speculators and bureaucrats.”

Orbán’s speech brought the biggest turnout of the day among some 580 such events held in the country yesterday, with authorities estimating an audience in the hundreds of thousands, including those attending the mass march organized by media loyal to the government.

The political opposition also produced a turnout of an estimated 40,000 people, where noted members of all groups within the shaky MSzP/Together 2014 (E14-PM) coalition delivered their speeches. At this event, Orbán predecessor Gordon Bajnai likened the Hungarian state to the Titanic, predictably labelling the current prime minister the ship’s captain steering Hungary toward a terrible iceberg.

According to news outlet Index.hu, another ex-PM, Ferenc Gyurcsány, received the longest ovation for speaking at the left-wing rally; in fact, some 200 to 300 members of Gyurcsány’s Democratic Coalition (DK) party upstaged MSzP president Attila Mesterházy. Mesterházy was forced to wait several minutes while the DK group’s cries of “összefogást” (“come together” or “pull together”) somewhat ironically continued.

– material by Gergő Rácz was used in this story

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