As the clean-up continues in Budapest, Hungary’s government is blaming the opposition for riots which overshadowed celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the country’s uprising against the Soviets. Anti-government protesters have staged daily demonstrations since a tape of the prime minister admitting he lied about the economy to win a general election was leaked in September.
But Ferenc Gyurcsany has just won the support of his coalition of Socialists and Free Democrats in parliament for budget reforms, designed to tackle the country’s deficit, the biggest in the EU. Police used rubber bullets, teargas and water cannon to disperse mostly far-right rioters. It was the worst violence Hungary has seen since the fall of Communism.
The Fidesz opposition accused the police of deliberately driving the protesters into their peaceful rally. Gyurcsany said the opposition had played with fire with its demonstrations and ended up burning the nation. Around 170 people were injured in the violence, including 17 police officers. More than 130 people were arrested.