Anti-government protestors again rallied in Budapest, as Hungary marked the anniversary of the 1956 uprising against the Soviet Union. It was the latest in a number of demos against Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, whose political stock collapsed after a leaked tape proved he lied about the economy to get re-elected last year. Today’s protests were noisy but peaceful compared to those of last night, when demonstrators clashed with riot police.
The commemoration coincided with a wreath-laying by members of a far-Right militia. The Hungarian Guard wraps itself in symbols associated with groups close to the Nazis in World War Two, and who were linked to the deportation of nearly half a million Jews to the death camps. Jewish and gypsy groups have demanded the Guard be banned.
Fearing a resurgence of the extreme Right in Hungary, a government publicity campaign warns that history can repeat itself, but one can always say No. Gyurcsany and other leading figures laid wreaths at the statue of Imre Nagy, a Hungarian hero who was Prime Minister during the uprising. Gyurcsany’s popularity has also been hit by tough austerity measures he introduced to tackle Hungary’s budget deficit, which is the largest in the European Union.