Celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian uprising have been marred by violent clashes between demonstrators and riot police. Anti-government protesters, who boycotted the official ceremony, were dispersed with teargas and rubber bullets.
They had gathered at city landmarks, including the square outside parliament where official celebrations were underway. Authorities blame a core group of far-right protesters for the violent outbreaks. Some turned up on their motorbikes, wearing leather jackets with anti-semitic slogans.
Peaceful demonstrations continued elsewhere in the city. The right-of-centre Fidesz opposition led a major rally in the city centre calling on protesters to refrain from violence but denouncing what it branded an “illegitimate government”.
The anniversary has been marred by a month of rallies outside parliament since prime minister Ferencz Gyurcsány admitted lying about the state of the economy to win the election.
It is not the first time the left and right have refused to celebrate the anniversary together, a division which largely mirrors the political split in Hungary today.