Skip to comments.Hungary police fire rubber bullets at protesters (50th Anniv Uprising Against Soviets)
Posted on 10/23/2006 10:22:53 AM PDT by bd476
Mon Oct 23, 2006 11:26 AM ET
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.
A woman passes a line of riot police to demonstrate against the government as the country celebrates the 50th anniversary of the country's 1956 uprising against Soviet rule in Budapest October 23, 2006. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh
Protestors face a line of riot police during an anti-government protest as the country celebrates the 50th anniversary of the country's 1956 uprising against Soviet rule in Budapest October 23, 2006. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh
A woman waves a Hungarian flag during an anti-government protest as the country celebrates the 50th anniversary of the country's 1956 uprising against Soviet rule in Budapest October 23, 2006. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh
A protester shout slogans in front of the parliament building in Budapest early October 23, 2006. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski
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.
The possibility of further clashes earlier prompted the government to again close the square outside parliament, which had been due to host a public event celebrating the uprising at 5.30 p.m. (1530 GMT), and to ask journalists not to go there.
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.
Hungarians are commemorating the 50th anniversary more divided than at any time since the collapse of communism in 1989.
Inside parliament, the prime minister said Hungarians in 1956 had no choice but to rebel, but the country, which held its first free elections in 1990 and joined the European Union in 2004, was now a modern, democratic state.
"Despite the often justified disappointment and discontent, the majority of Hungarians believe that parliamentary democracy is the most suited to express people's will and to create law and give a program to a free Hungary," he said.
October 23, 2006
Clashes have broken out between police and protesters as Hungary marks 50 years since the country's failed anti-Soviet uprising.
There are reports of tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon being used to disperse protesters, who are angry at the prime minister's recent admission that he lied to voters.
The protests have overshadowed official events to mark the 1856 uprising. Thousands were killed as the attempted revolution was quashed.
Earlier in the square, events began to mark the demonstrations that led to the country's attempted revolution, in the same square, 50 years ago.
Dignitaries and foreign heads of state watched as the country's historic flags were paraded.
But elsewhere in Budapest, protests continued, sparked by Prime Minister Gyurcsany's admission that he had lied about the state of the economy.
And although foreign heads of state are in attendance, the country's opposition party says it will boycott events where the prime minister is speaking.
In pictures: Hungary anniversary
Pope salutes Hungary 50 years after uprising
Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:21 AM ET
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict saluted the "courageous people" of Hungary on Monday, the 50th anniversary of an uprising against Soviet domination which he said was a time for Europe to reflect on its spiritual values.
Benedict recalled how the Pope at that time, Pius XII, made "grief stricken appeals" for Hungary's right to self-determination.
"Memories are still vivid of the tragic events that, in the space of a few days left thousands of people dead or wounded and caused deep distress throughout the world," Benedict said in a massage to Hungarian President Laszlo Solyom.
Some 2,600 Hungarians died battling the Soviet Army and more than 200 were executed for their role in the 1956 uprising, which was one of the key episodes of the Cold War.
"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," Benedict said.
"The heartfelt wish that I now renew is that Hungary may build a future free from all forms of oppression and ideological conditioning."
Benedict said the commemoration of the Hungarian uprising should spur a "reflection on the moral, ethical and spiritual ideals and values that have shaped Europe".
While the "iron curtain" that divided Europe during the Cold War has lifted, the Vatican has voiced concerns that a westernized society may lose touch with its Christian roots.
Pope salutes Hungary 50 years after uprising
God bless the Hungarians for standing up against the communists.
Thank you for your Hungary threads, Bd476.
My folks just returned from a visit a few months shy of the 50th anniversary of their escape.
How sad to see the anniversary celebrations have been overshadowed by the protests.
Gyurcsany should have resigned, IMO.
Isten Aldja Magyarorszagot!
God Bless Hungary!
"October 23, 1956, is a day that will forever live in the annals of free men and free nations. It was a day of courage, conscience, and triumph. No other day since history began has shown more clearly man's unquenchable and eternal desire to be free, whatever the odds against success, whatever the sacrifice required".
John F. Kennedy
That is wonderful to hear that your parents were able to commemorate their escape by a return visit.Velveeta wrote: "Gyurcsany should have resigned, IMO."
He probably thought it was enough to confess that he lied.
Maybe his confession shows that he is a courageous man or perhaps it shows that he is a meglomaniac to believe that he wouldn't get caught and have to answer for his lies.
Hard not to confess when you're caught on tape. LOL
He was arrogant enough to think it would just blow over.
What the Hell is happening in Hungary... ?
Sorry about my ignorance - but how does the 1956 uprising link with the current government and the events of the last month ?
Stop your lying. Stop your killing. Stop your race baiting. Stop your multiculturalism. You Socialist heathens. We can no longer trust you as governors.
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