Monday, September 18, 2006

Wait, WHAT???

Last night at around midnight, Rick was taking a walk and saw fire trucks and policemen headed towards Heros' Square. He grew uneasy, and wondered if he should go up there, but decided not to. A little later he saw a bunch of kids with Hungarian flags and figured it must be a soccer rally. Remember, we just got here and we know barely any Hungarians--we don't speak the language and watch, but can't understand, Hungarian TV--we've had no time to learn about politics here. In the middle of the night last night we heard fire engines and then heard our neighbors' TVs being switched on. This morning: "wait, What????"

From the BBC's website today:

Budapest clashes as protest grows

Police used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators
Police in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, have used tear gas and water cannon against protesters who threw bottles and stones and set cars alight. Thousands of demonstrators had gathered in the city, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany. After several hours the police withdrew, allowing protesters to break into the state television headquarters.

The protests follow Mr Gyurcsany's admission that his Socialist government told lies to win a general election.


The BBC's Nick Thorpe, in central Budapest, says the trouble at the state television station began when a small group of protesters who had spent the day outside parliament tried to hand in a petition. A clash with riot police ensued and the square rapidly filled with mainly young people, some waving Hungarian flags.

"Nothing like this has happened since 1956," one young protester told Reuters news agency, referring to Hungary's failed uprising against Soviet rule in October 1956.

Mr Gyurcsany's comments were heard in a tape of a meeting he had with his MPs a few weeks after April's election. It is not clear how the tape was leaked. In excerpts broadcast on state radio, Mr Gyurcsany says harsh economic reforms are needed.
He thanks "divine providence, the abundance of cash in the world economy and hundreds of tricks" for keeping the economy above board. In a speech sprinkled with obscenities, Mr Gyurcsany says: "We lied in the morning, we lied in the evening." The prime minister has received the backing of Socialist MPs who on Monday voted unanimously to support him.

However, Hungary's President, Laszlo Solyom, said Mr Gyurcsany had created a "moral crisis", and opposition parties have called for his resignation.

Matyas Oersi, an MP with the Free Democrat Party - the junior coalition partner in the government - told the BBC: "It's a surprise - though understandable - that the people are angry at a political leader who, for the first time, is telling the truth: that the whole political class was lying."

Local elections are scheduled in two weeks' time. The Socialists and their liberal coalition allies are trailing Fidesz in the polls.


Justk said...

Yikes! That must be so scary. Scarier still, watching events unfold before you but not being able to process them until they post to BBC. This is unlike anything that you've ever experienced in America. Fancy that, people uprising against their government! That's unheard of "in my conthree"


Garth said...

Wow! I justn read about this on the times and thoguht i'd see if you posted anything. Glad you're okay.