Friday, 26 October 2007


Trouble on the streets
Unreported by the English-language media, this week Hungary has been marking the fifty-first anniversary of the 1956 uprising with riot and demonstration on the streets of Budapest.

On Monday night cars were burned and Molotov cocktails thrown at police, with water cannons and tear gas in return. Nineteen people were reported injured. Tuesday saw mass demonstration against the Government’s economic policy (austerity). There were thirty-thousand demonstrators, said police; nearly quarter of a million, according to the organisers.

Wedesday and Thursday were mopping-up time. Budapest’s finest rounded up the usual suspects and the beaks were sending them down. Things seemed to be settling back to normal, whatever that may be, but today, Friday, far right groups were back on the streets disrupting traffic on main roads…

A lot of trouble by any measure. If this had happened on the streets of Paris or London the English-language media would have been full of it. In Budapest, though – nary a mention. It is after all a city situated in just another ‘far away country of which we know little’.

Hungary – and particularly Budapest – hold a relative historical significance within the conductive goldfish bowl, probably unequalled in any other area of life in our modern globalised world. Few if any outside that world share this perspective.

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