Government, opposition protesters rally in Budapest

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Government, opposition protesters rally in Budapest

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Large pro and anti-government rallies have taken place in the Hungarian capital Budapest, reflecting stark divisions in the country as it marks the anniversary of the 1956 uprising against Soviet rule.

Opposition socialists joined tens of thousands in the anti-government demonstration like the former prime minister Ferenc Gyurrcsany.

Another former prime minister, Gordon Bajnai, announced a new political movement, saying the current administration had made the rich richer, and the poor poorer.

Government supporters had been bussed in from all over the country for their rally.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s popularity has fallen in recent months as his right-wing Fidesz government struggles with a deteriorating economy.

With Hungary in recession and unemployment high, the government has raised taxes on banks and big business, defying criticism from the EU.

Budapest accuses Brussels of mishandling the crisis with its austerity packages.

The pro-government demonstration attracted 150,000, according to an official news agency.