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Hungarians Celebrate Anniversary Of Uprising

From those champions of democracy at Reuters:

Hungary police fire rubber bullets at protesters

By Gergely Szakacs

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungarian police fired rubber bullets and teargas on Monday to disperse anti-government protesters marching on parliament on the 50th anniversary of the country's uprising against Soviet rule.

The anniversary has been marred by a month of protests following the admission by Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany in a leaked speech that he lied about the economy to win national elections in April.

Protesters seeking to march on a square outside parliament clashed with police after fighting earlier in the day led to 10 people arrested and several others injured.

"They are shooting rubber bullets at the protesters now," a Reuters photographer said.

By 1500 GMT, police had pushed back protesters to Budapest's central square, Deak Square, and continued to fire teargas, a witness said.

"Police are firing loads of teargas at about 1,000 protesters fighting them," a Reuters reporter said.

Some protesters, their faces hidden behind scarves, lobbed stones at the police, a witness said.

But officers managed to force the protesters away from parliament square toward a major rally being held by the main right-of-centre Fidesz opposition party, which wants Gyurcsany to quit…

Even before Gyurcsany's leaked speech, many on the right questioned whether celebrations should be led by the Socialists, heirs of the communists whose rule was cemented for 33 more years after Soviet troops put down the uprising.

A government source said Gyurcsany would not attend the inauguration of a 1956 memorial this evening.

Some 2,600 Hungarians died battling Soviet troops, more than 200 were executed for their role in the uprising and 200,000 fled the country…

Ironically, today is also the anniversary of the doomed "Hungarian Uprising" against an earlier dictatorship, which the media also largely ignored.

From France's AFP:

Hungarian, world leaders mark 50th anniversary of anti-Soviet uprising

Mon Oct 23

BUDAPEST (AFP) – Dozens of world leaders have joined Hungarians to solemnly mark the anniversary of the 1956 uprising brutally quashed by Soviet tanks, as bitter domestic politics cast a shadow over commemorations aimed at uniting the country in the post-communist era.

The ceremonies started Monday with military salutes and the hoisting of the national flag outside the neo-Gothic parliament building as the national anthem was played…

The leaders included Hungarian President Laszlo Solyom and Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, as well as 18 European presidents and two prime ministers, the king of Norway, and the heads of the European Commission and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

A block away, police used batons to disperse a small group of far-right protesters, detaining 10 demonstrators and leaving several people with bloodied faces after the confrontation, the MTI state-run news agency reported.

Hungary's uprising erupted on October 23, 1956 and was crushed by Soviet tanks on November 4, sealing the country's fate as a satellite state of Moscow until the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.

As world leaders came together to pay homage to the small nation's desperate fight for freedom at the height of the Cold War, bitter political divisions in Hungary threatened to overshadow the celebrations.

The main right-wing opposition party Fidesz said it would boycott commemorations where Gyurcsany was to speak.

Gyurcsany's Socialist party succeeded the Communist party after Hungary's transition to democracy in 1989.

The move by Fidesz torpedoed efforts to use the half-century anniversary to unite the country in the spirit of the 1956 uprising, when a peaceful student protest spontaneously turned into a mass upheaval against Stalinist oppression.

The Hungarian president had appealed to politicians on the eve of the anniversary to honour the heroes of the uprising by showing unity.

The uprising started as a peaceful student protest 50 years ago, which ended up uniting intellectuals, students, workers and farmers in demanding freedom after years of Stalinist oppression.

The protests turned into armed resistance across Hungary, with youngsters, dubbed freedom fighters, grabbing guns and Molotov cocktails in fierce street battles against Soviet tanks sent to put down the protests.

The crackdown resulted in the death of 2,800 Hungarians. A further 12,000 were wounded and 200,000 fled to the West…

The commemorations had already been marred on Sunday, when at a state awards ceremony in parliament several recipients, including some veterans of the uprising, refused to shake hands with Gyurcsany.

It was a symbolic jab at Gyurcsany, who although born five years after the uprising, was the leader of the communist youth organisation in the 1980s

But as long as people are only protesting Socialist governments our one party media will ignore them.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, October 23rd, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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