At least five people have been injured in violent clashes between police and protestors in Hungary as the country gears up for the 51st anniversary of the 1956 uprising against Soviet rule. Demonstrators threw firebombs at water cannon trucks near Budapest’s Opera House where Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany was attending a ceremony.
At least three people have been arrested, according to media reports. The authorities responded by firing water cannons and tear gas at the crowds. Earlier the police had banned a march in the city at which speakers from the far-right were expected. Officers were carrying out spot checks near the main commemoration sites.
They are preparing for a possible repeat of last year’s violence on the streets of the capital around Szabadsag Square. Dozens of protestors and police were injured in weeks of anti-government riots initially sparked by Gyurcsany’s admission in a leaked tape that he had lied about the state of Hungary’s economy before winning the elections in May 2006.