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HUNGARY RIOTS: An eyewitness account + videos

A half hour recording of ex-regime member turned businessman turned democratic politician Ferenc Gyurcsany, PM of Hungary, was "leaked" to dozens of news media companies on Saturday in a highly organised manner. It was a party-members-only conference speech by him about using lies for governing- and election-policy years and years on end. Local economy is on the edge, harsh tax raises and cancelling several social benefit programs were just announced during the last few months, so public tension was already high. -Parts of the "leaked" confidential speech blew the fuse for many folks, and peaceful protests started at the Parliament on Sunday afternoon by a few hundred people.
An eyewitness report of the events that followed after:

 link to www.youtube.com
 link to www.youtube.com

Sleeping Anger

On this Monday, the protests continued, and the number of protesters multiplied by early evening into the 10'000+. I was surprised to see the majority of participants were apparently not socially disadvantaged poor folks who are most critically impacted by current economical restrictions, but middle-class people from middle-class families like me, predominantly in their 20s to 40s. There was pretty high agitation as well as anger -- when we were not shouting slogans or listening to various self-made spokesmen on a made-shift loudspeaker system, most of us were freely talking with people we met for the first time. Just as I expected, I found out that the majority of us were those who voted NOT for the current governing coalition, but there were also a smaller number of their voters present, those who turned really bitter and pissed about laying their trust into them. As could be expected, oddballs, radicals and extremists appeared as well, I estimate less than 500 in total for the radical/extreme right folks, that including the soccer hooligans.

Sometimes after 22:00 we heard a lot of shouting that there was something heavy happening at the main public broadcast TV building, that used to be the state-owned regime TV station in the old days. The TV building is a historically prominent place because of its key role during the 1956 Revolution -- the '56 revolution exploded with the people taking over this state-owned TV and starting their broadcasts to mobilise the rest of the country.

[It was only made clear to me later that initially two right radicalist leaders were entering the TV, and tried to get their political petition broadcast -- demanding the governing coalition to disband. They were refused, and the company security personnel _illegally_ tried to arrest /capture both of them -- here only the police can do valid arrests. One guy barely escaped the building and then things rapidly escalated as the hardcore right radicalists including a few dozen very well known soccer hooligans tried to enter the building by force, the security guys called the police, some police force managed to enter the building from the other side, then secu+police barricaded the enterance and used tear gas and the firehoses to keep crazed rioters away. It was then that some of these guys came back to the parliament and called us to the TV building -we were too prompt to go there because of the place's historical significance of exploding the 1956 Revolution]

On arriving there, I found riot police and an armoured vehicle with water cannon trying to disperse the rioters and protesters.

I can fairly say that police's reaction was PROVOCATIVE, as they started to use tear gas against all of us indiscriminately -- against the apparently non-agressive and separated protesters as well as against obviously extremist elements attacking the enterance of the building.

TV building

Shortly after I arrived there and got tear gased, came the riot police assault. We were angry about the shameless shit the .gov was doing for years, especially now that the "leaked" record had so many extra details on it, sprinkled with the worst bloody outrageous style and slandering on the country by the PM. We were some 5000 or so by now, and the police was really pouring down tear gas and water cannon on us. There were also, I estimate, 500-600 riot police in protective gear and plastic shields to disperse us. Were we in an asphalt-paved area of the city, they would have succeeded!

But the square in front of the TV building had these 6cm*6cm granite cubes covering most of the ground, for some decorative paving...
We were so angry, and they came so handy.

Came the assault, we withdrew for 5 seconds or so, then we started harvesting the stones and salvoing the riot police, breaking up their formation and pushing them afar!
Then again!
Then again!!!
-I think we defeated 3 assault waves by salvoing them with the cobblestones. That is incredible, I feel PROUD about it!
I am also proud about many of us helping and picking up injured riot police, and transporting them back to their squadrons. We are not animals.

As a fundamental cornerstone of Democracy, every country shall have these handy cobblestones covering public areas around government buildings, news media institutions and business districts.

The Water Cannon

Riot police had this idea of penetrating the protesters with a wedge lead by an armoured mobile water cannon with about 600 riot police covering behind it, then disperse us from the square.

There were just a few CRUCIAL mistakes made here.
1./ They were entering a wide open area with an armoured vehicle leading in front as a shield to riot police infantry -- it was of no use for cover, as we could easily outmaneuver it.
2./ The water cannon was just heading straight into the middle of the protesters across a large square with areas of bare ground -- they were so busy shooting the water cannon forward that the patches of bare ground turned into deep mud and trapped the heavy armoured thing as it tried to cross it.
3./ The water cannon had an integrated tear gas self-defence mechanism -- it ran out some half an hour after we flanked the tailing riot police and CHASED THEM AWAY with massive salvoes of mentioned 6cm*6cm granite cobblestones, then surrounding the stuck vehicle.

When it was finally out of tear gas, we DEMOLISHED the vehicle, removed the driver/turret operator guys and quickly lead them back to their squadron in safety because some crazy people wanted lynching them.

Then the water cannon was literally taken apart for souvenirs, I have seen people taking parts of dashboard and various bits and pieces home for relics.

TV building pt.2

The total of 120-150? radical/extreme right rioters finally defeated the 30+ police+security force holding the barricade with firehoses and tear gas -- the barricade was raised from heavy doors torn off inside the building and even from the security gate with metal detector and other solid materials the people inside had at hand.

When the barricade was torn down, I only seen a small part of the radicals/extremists actually entering, they rather stayed outside for some reason. But it was several hundreds of us, protesters entering - inside, I was just staying at the lobby for a look-around but did not go up the stairs to the offices/studios.

From my experience while I was there, and from two other accounts, we did not notice any systematic destroying from other protesters, so I was surprised by later claims today that "several offices were burned down and others destroyed"??? Soon we left, only a few dozen people stayed inside the building and out in the square, it was almost 3 in the morning after all...

Echoes of '56

In 1956, our Revolution for independence from the Soviet rule bloomed with the people forcibly entering the State TV building, just like now.

-In fact, the characteristic flag of the '56 Revolution -- the Hungarian flag with a torn hole in the middle -- was heavily featured in this event.

You can find a bunch of pictures here about the happenings, pulled from various sources.

A news item in english at indymedia.hu about the same event:


WHAT A SURPRISE, our government and affiliated media accuses "the extremists" for everything yet again -- anything out of their direct personal and financial interest is extremism after all, isn't it?

We are on the streets again tonight, and will keep up until something changes about local politics.

Personal account: thecoderguy
English translation: thedesignerguy

* * *


Briefly about tonight's event.

Sunday, when it started, it was 150+ people.

Monday 10'000+, almost half moving over to the TV building and clashing with the riot police.

Tuesday night it is maybe 80'000 or more people peacefully protesting at the parliament, with 50-60 other cities keeping solidarity protests with a few thousand people per city. There is only some thousand police here at the parliament, and they look like pretty scared and worried.
I just got home, but I will be back there Wednesday evening.
parts of the secret speech of the hungarian prime minister 25.Sep.2006 02:45


„There is not much choice. There is not, because we fucked up. Not a little, a lot. No European country has done something as boneheaded as we have. Evidently, we lied throughout the last year-and-a-half, two years. It was totally clear that what we are saying is not true. You cannot quote any significant government measure we can be proud of, other than at the end we managed to bring the government back from the brink. Nothing. If we have to give account to the country about what we did for four years, then what do we say?"

Gyurcsány Ferenc, prime minister

"...then what do we say?" 25.Sep.2006 09:12

Pravda or Consequences

How about, "I quit, so the people can have their country back."

October 56 anniverary in coming 26.Sep.2006 04:50

witness in Magyarorszag

It will be interesting in the coming month as Hungarians remember and honor the 50th anniversary of the 56 rebellion against the party (the Socialists) that is now back in power for a second term. Hungarians like many Europeans and other people have a deep connection with their history. The 56 revolution started as a memorial of the 1848 revolution. In 1989 as "communism" fell the leader that crushed the 56 revolution named Kadar died and it was at that time that the 56 leader1S body, Nagy Imre, was removed from an unmark crave to an appropriate tomb. Symbolism, history and ritualistic events often overlap in the Hungarian collective consciousness. This should be an intersting October.