"They said they had only experienced abuse of this kind in apartheid-era South Africa."Read the entire post on Chew.hu.
2006.11.02. 09:38 | ike
2006.11.02. 09:29 | ike
2006.10.30. 12:43 | ike
This video was shot during an Internazionale game at Milan’s Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (better known as San Siro, the home of city clubs FC Internazionale and AC Milan) following the riots in Budapest. Watch the big white banner.
Further down south in
2006.10.27. 12:51 | ike
Identification of potential Dirty Harrys is however difficult, if not impossible, since none of the thousands of policemen deployed wore IDs during the fights.
Now, on to the contest! If you can identify any of the policemen in the following pictures or videos, send his or her name and rank to Riots in
Innocent or not, the lone man in this video was unfortunate enough to bump into a bunch of riot cops while standing on a corner in downtown shopping street Váci utca. Your task: name at least one of the nine cops who beat him.
2006.10.26. 12:38 | ike
Remember the lone protester who halted tanks by simply standing in front of them on
Alternatively, you may decide to pick one of Kelly’s Heroes.
2006.10.26. 11:08 | ike
2006.10.26. 10:59 | ike
Further riots? Perhaps. The 1956 revolution erupted on October 23 and ended on November 4, when about a thousand Soviet tanks invaded
Opposition leader Viktor Orbán now wants
2006.10.25. 17:07 | ike
The Economist: "A Bitter Farce"
"Imagine an American president celebrating the Fourth of July in front of the Capitol with a spattering of foreign guests and a few handpicked kids on bikes in a parody of a parade, with a solitary fire truck for good measure and no ordinary citizens closer than a mile."
Kommersant: "An Information War"
"By all appearances, the events early this week were the continuation of coordinated attacks by ring-wing forces against the ruling party and its leader Ferenc Gyurcsany. The campaign to discredit the prime minister has already yielded dividends for the opposition in the form of an impressive victory in the local elections. If Fidesz now succeeds in forcing the government to resign and holding early parliamentary elections, the right wing will be assured of its accession to power."
The Khaleej Times: "Back to the people"
"So what should have been a solemn occasion to remember a landmark event in Europe’s post World War II history has been turned into a massive anti-government agitation. […] Surely, a people who defied Soviet tanks and guns half a century ago cannot be cowed down by a lying and discredited politician. The only way to resolve the explosive situation in Hungary may be by way of fresh elections. It’s back to the people, then."
Sticking to the highest standards of objectivity in modern-day investigative journalism, Kate Connolly managed to report for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Daily Telegraph from a 900 kilometer distance: Bucharest, Romania. Here she goes:
Sydney Morning Herald: "Deja vu"
"In a dramatic visual recreation of scenes from 1956 when Red Army tanks tried to quash the revolution, a lone tank moved jerkily down a central Budapest street on Monday night, surrounded by excited protesters.[…] Their action turned what had been peaceful mass demonstrations into the worst political violence since the events of 1956."
And finally, even Pope Benedict himself had something to say, although he probably did not expect what was going to happen when he sent this message to Hungarian President László Sólyom:
The Pope: "Courageous People"
"Despite all the oppression they have endured down the centuries, most recently from Soviet communism, your people have always maintained the correct evaluation of the relationship between the State and citizens, beyond all ideology. […] The heartfelt wish that I now renew is that Hungary may build a future free from all forms of oppression and ideological conditioning."
2006.10.25. 11:33 | ike
2006.10.24. 16:18 | ike
Here are the contenders for the title "Best Barricade Building Block, Budapest 2006"
Metal trash containers with burning trash
Trivial as it may sound, trash containers play a double role: they effectively block grenades and bullets, and, when set on fire, they create a psychological barrier that is difficult to overcome even for the toughest of riot police.
A bus operated by the Budapest Transportation Company (BKV) makes a perfect barricade in itself. On Monday, protesters occupied a number 15 bus, turned it across Bajcsy Zsilinszky út and took cover behind it until things got worse. They also tried to persuade a trolley bus driver to give up the vehicle, but the driver said no and fled without consequences. Here's an animated how-to about the hijacking part, complete with police intervention. Clever. (Note that this one was a failed attempt; the would-be barricade builders fled after the cops showed up.)
Watch all riot videos
And the winner of the "Best Barricade Building Block, Budapest 2006" contest is:
2006.10.24. 15:20 | ike
Masked rioter perched on top of a public phone box near Blaha Lujza tér
More pictures of the Blaha Lujza tér fights
All picture galleries
Every single person in the crowd seems to carry a camera cell phone, and every single person is using it – it’s hard to tell reporter from spy, rioter from undercover cop.
The most active rioters are dressed in hooded sweaters, their faces masked to avoid identification and incoming gas. They raise a barricade from rails abandoned by the police, but they also use some fencing material supposed to protect a construction crane. Construction workers guarding the crane simply look away.
There are surprisingly many kids (aged 12 and up) on the streets. “Now, they’re coming”, says a young guy to an equally young friend when he suspects police are about to launch an attack and break through the barricade. He turns around, produces a lighter and sets on fire what seems like part hand grenade, part ancient torch: some black material spread evenly on a wooden stick. There’s no attack though, the instrument is saved for later use.
Later in a side street, some friends see three 15-16-year old, masked kids making Molotov cocktails using Fanta and Coke bottles, gasoline and some thread stuck into the bottleneck.
I leave Rákóczi út to look around and, and on a corner, I notice dozens of mounted police lurking in the dark, ready to storm the rioters. But the final attack won’t start until
The other wing of the protesters, lined up at the bridge, will hold its positions until long after
2006.10.24. 13:34 | ike
2006.10.24. 12:54 | ike
One small street that would take me to the front line is blocked by a line of policemen, so I take a right turn on Dob utca, in times of peace a sleepy street with one of
The blue dot shows where the front line is; the red dot is where the grenades land.
See the area on Google Maps
2006.10.24. 10:42 | ike
Fifty years later? Brave selection of colors and patterns (note the perfect matching of belt and scarf) on this couple Monday night on Blaha Lujza tér. And did you know that love is eternal?
2006.10.24. 09:22 | ike
Since I live on Andrássy út (Budapest’s Champs Elysées sans the fancy fashion stores), I simply walk down the road to face a line of riot police blocking my way across Bajcsy Zsilinszky út on Monday, at around
Loud bangs, and a helicopter circling above the area. The smoke is becoming intolerable. Someone in the crowd says ’Let’s Take off Before We Die’. I agree. There must be better places to die. How about right in front of the water cannons?
I’m no Coppola, and it might not have been the Apocalypse, but here’s what I saw and heard Monday evening at Andrássy út and Bajcsy Zsilinszky út.
2006.10.24. 07:51 | ike
Now, this is what I call authentic re-enactment. But who are the traitors? Gotta find out.
This Csepel was parked on Sunday on Andrássy út as a historic exhibit. All quiet at the moment.
2006.10.24. 03:49 | riotsinhungary
On the day that Hungary planned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, streetfighting and chaos erupted for the second time in a month in downtown Budapest.
Trouble flared very early in the morning, when police started to remove all the people from Kossuth square who had been camping there for a month in protest of PM Ferenc Gyurcsány admitting that he had lied to the nation. The demonstrators say that the police attacked without any reason, while those in blue insist that they had to do something since the „peaceful” squatters had armed themselves with rocks and knifes and were planning to disturb the official celebrations scheduled later this afternoon at the same place.
The police were fast in emptying Kossuth square, but soon full-scale rioting broke out all around the city. Tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets were all used by the police, but by late afternoon it was clear that this was not enough. Meanwhile the main opposition party, Fidesz started its planned rally in front of tens of thousands of supporters at central Astoria square. The police managed to push back the more violent demonstrators, only to see them join up with the peaceful Fidesz-supporters.
As night fell many parts of central Budapest were choking on tear gas, while a core of a couple thousand rioters was busy building barricades, burning cars and even looting some shops. A long and tense standoff with the police followed, with none of the two sides willing or daring to attack the other. Slowly the rioters started losing their patience, and as many of them tried to quietly leave the scene, police finally decided to attack. The rioters inmediately started running in all directions, with police chasing them everywhere, even to the roofs of some buildings. At 3:30 AM on October 24th a huge manhunt is going on all around the city.
2006.10.24. 02:22 | riotsinhungary
Incredibly noone was killed, but the rioters who managed to get into the tank went for the rides of their lives until the petrol ran out and police were finally able to take over the vehicle. Luckily it was captured on film, so it’s sure to become the highlight of those police chase videos for years to come.
2006.10.24. 02:16 | riotsinhungary
It was exactly 50 years ago, on October 23rd 1956 that the Hungarian Revolution started. The nation, willing to do anything to shake off its Soviet masters took to the streets of Budapest to fight against the hated communist regime. Everything seemed to go the freedom fighters’ way, but after a couple of days Moscow decided that it couldn’t let one of its puppets break free. Soviet troops invaded Hungary and the revolution was quickly crushed. Despite the obvious defeat, the revolution was a victory in many ways. It proved that the Soviets couldn’t feel safe even in their own backyard, and it also provided enough pride for many Hungarians to help them live through the next 33 years until communism finally collapsed for good.
October 23rd 2006 marks the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution, a day that every political power wanted to make special – on their own terms. So a number of memorials were planned:
- The big official party, featuring most top Hungarian politicians (except the opposition ones that refused to share a stage with PM Gyurcsány), and a lot of top-dog guests like Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission and heads of state and government from all over the world.
- A big popular rally organized by main opposition party Fidesz on Astoria square, right in the heart of Budapest.
- The party that the weirdos squatting in front of the Parliament building for a month had planned, which was finally broken up on the eve of the 23rd, the event that led to all hell breaking lose in Budapest for the second time in a month.
2006.10.24. 01:41 | riotsinhungary
On October 23rd rioting started for the second time on the streets of Budapest. This, however, was preceeded by a month that the international media considered way too boring to care about. Oh, how right they were... Anyway, if you really want to know what happened in Hungary between the end of september and the end of october, here is the lowdown.
- After a couple of nights of streetfighting and a succesful siege to the building of the Hungarian State Television, the riots slowly fizzled out.
- Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány refused to step down and wowed to complete the agenda of economical reforms his government had started.
- A colourful coalition of extreme right-wing loonies turned Kossuth square in front of the Hungarian Parliament into their permanent camping ground, where they decided to stay until Gyurcsány would give in and leave.
- On the local elections of October 1st the governing social-liberal coalition candidates suffered painful defeats all over the country. Their only consolation was Budapest mayor Gábor Demszky, a liberal, hanging on to his seat by a very narrow margin.
- After the local elections the main opposition party, the right-wing Fidesz declared that the people had chosen to live without Gyurcsány, and that they would hold daily rallies on Kossuth tér until the socialist PM would finally stand down.
- As the days passed, things got even more boring. The loonies camped. Fidesz rallied, carefully trying to keep their distance from the loonies. Gyurcsány and his government tried to go on as if nothing had happened.
- Despite the peace and love on the surface, everyone knew that October 23rd would bring a new round of rioting.
2006.09.25. 01:39 | riotsinhungary
Who leaked Gyurcsány's speech to the media?
- Those who hate him say it was the PM himself. The cunning bastard wants to manipulate the masses in a way that ordinary Hungarians can't really understand.
- Those who love him say it was the PM himself. The cunning genius wants to manipulate the masses in a way that ordinary Hungarians can't really understand.
Who started the riots?
- Commie agents paid by Gyurcsány, who wants to discredit the noble revolutionaries by associating them with pain and destruction.
- Evil ex-PM Viktor Orbán, who is trying to completely ruin the country so he can get back to power.
- The Jews, the Romanians or the Slovaks.
2006.09.24. 19:12 | riotsinhungary
We would love to explain the difference (and also the surprising similarities) between 1956 and 2006, but unfortunately Hungary's leading expat blog, Pestiside has beaten us. So check out their marvelous "Budapest '06 vs. '56: A Guide for Clueless Foreign Hacks".
2006.09.24. 11:12 | riotsinhungary
The crowd was pretty impressive anyway, especially considering that Fidesz, the main opposition party that had a demonstration planned for this saturday since July, cancelled the thing two days ago. Apparently the Hungarian secret services have warned them that it would be impossible to guarantee the safety of the participants, since an unidentified criminal group was planning some unidentifed act of violence. Unidentifying is pretty big in Hungary!
Even if Fidesz backed out, some of its leading politicians went to the rally to speak to the gathered masses. Fortunately this time the chaos and streetfighting seen earlier this week was totally absent. However the extreme right-wing groups organizing the demonstrations warned that from next week the protests would extend to the entire country, unless Gyurcsány gives in resigns.
2006.09.23. 14:55 | ike
Hír TV, (News TV) known for its sympathy for right-wing politics in general and the largest opposition party, Fidesz in particular, has literally been in the forefront of the riots since the beginning. Hír TV was the only station with live coverage of the MTV siege - their footage was broadcast by not only Hungarian rivals RTL and TV2, but also by BBC and CNN. Not by the MTV, though. The state TV ran a canned culture program while the HQ were under siege Monday night.
Rivalry between commercial channels culminated in a close encounter Thursday night, when the Hír TV crew, cruising
Oh, and did we mention the people at Parliament cheered and applauded Al Jazeera for showing up among the international TV crews to report on the protests?
2006.09.22. 14:54 | ike
- András Sváby, leading figure of the commercial TV station TV2 is seen among the onlookers. Sváby is not reporting – no camera, no microphone – he is smiling and chatting with someone while the siege is on – he’s not throwing stones and not beating policemen, though.
- Flórián Urbán, ex-mediocre soccer player turned TV pundit was caught on camera participating merrily in the siege. He was inmediatley fired by his employers at Hungary's most popular commercial TV station, RTL Klub.
- An unnamed first lieutenant of the Hungarian police spotted among rioters . He was immediately fired from the police, then taken into custody. Thursday, the daily tabloid Blikk reported that there was not one, but actually four policemen and a soldier of the Hungarian army among the protesters. Police and army officials have not confirmed this.