Pro and anti-government groups clash at ʼ56 event

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This yearʼs commemorations of Hungaryʼs 1956 Uprising against communist rule saw clashes in front of Parliament as anti-government demonstrators whistled and booed during the speech by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, with several people attacked by pro-government supporters, according to reports.

An altercation in the crowd during the commemorations (photo: MTI/János Marjai).

Opposition party Együtt (Together) encouraged Hungarians opposed to the current Orbán regime to whistle and boo during the leader’s commemoration speech in order to express their rejection of his government. The demonstration turned ugly in some places, various footage taken at the event showed, when pro-government citizens attempted to remove whistles from the mouths of some protesters in an attempt to silence them.

The Hungarian Police announced after the clashes that four individuals had been arrested on charges of disorderly conduct.

At a separate demonstration civilians initiated at Blaha Lujza tér, Hungarian left-wing opposition parties urged the creation of an alliance in order to remove the Orbán government. Leftist parties attending the event –the Socialists, Democratic Coalition, Dialogue for Hungary and Movement for a Modern Hungary – stressed their desire to live in an independent and free Hungary, according to Hungarian news agency MTI.

Orbán said in his 1956 commemoration speech that Hungarian freedom had been “buried in a grave, facing down to the ground” under the Soviet-controlled regime, but by today “it has revived, and has been here with us ever since,” according to MTI.

Commenting once again on the refugee crisis, the prime minister said Hungary had chosen the more difficult path when it “chose its own children instead of immigrants; work instead of speculation and aid; standing on our own feet instead of debtor slavery; and defending borders instead of raising arms,” MTI reported.

Orbán apparently referenced the protesters whistling and booing during his speech by saying that while the revolutionaries of 1956 had sent the message that communism could be defeated, it still “sometimes comes back whistling.”

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