Demonstrators demanding the resignation of the Hungarian Prime Minister have stormed state television in Budapest. In the first such violence of the post-communist era in the country, around 50 people were injured, according to police. The protests were sparked by a leaked tape of the Socialist premier saying his government had lied to win April’s election. Security forces used water cannon and tear gas to force back protesters – a number of whom hurled bottles and cobblestones and set fire to vehicles.
Some of those taking part in the demonstration were said to be from fringe right-wing parties. A group of people did manage to get inside the TV station which was forced off air amid reports of vandalism and looting. The building is near parliament where thousands of protesters had gathered. While the man at the centre of the storm, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany has the backing of his fellow Socialists, the main opposition party says it will boycott parliament today.
Just back from meeting President Putin in Russia, the Hungarian leader has confirmed the authenticity of the tape, recorded during a closed party meeting in May. He is heard saying his government “lied in the morning” and “lied in the evening.”
But he maintains the statement does not refer to the economy, as it claimed, but to so-called “general lies” told by Hungarian political figures over a period of years.