Police, protesters clash as Hungary remembers 1956

Police and hundreds of protesters clashed on Monday in Budapest as Hungary commemorated the 50th anniversary of the country’s 1956 uprising against Soviet rule.

A Reuters photographer said there had been arrests and state news agency MTI said some protesters had been beaten as police sought to move them further from Parliament, the site of official celebrations for state officials and more than 50 foreign dignitaries.

The anniversary has been marred by a month of protests sparked by Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany’s admission he had lied about the economy to win elections in April, exacerbating deep divisions in the country of 10-million people.

Protesters, who have been camped outside Parliament since Gyurcsany’s speech was leaked on September 17, were cleared early on Monday and have split into groups in the centre of the city.

They were kept well away from the official celebrations, in which dignitaries laid flowers on a memorial to 1956, but their anger remains intense and they have vowed to try and return to Parliament.

By mid-morning, about 300 people chanting “‘56, ‘56” were gathered outside the city’s cathedral, waving flags.

“Dear guests, welcome to Gyurcsany’s country where lies look like truth, sin looks like virtue ... Please help us to help him and his followers resign,” read one banner at the cathedral.

The main right-of-centre Fidesz opposition party is due to hold a rally at 4pm local time in the centre of Budapest.—Reuters

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