Riot police disperse Hungary rally

Demonstrators want the Socialist prime minister to resign.

    Eggs were thrown at Gyurcsany and the mayor
    of Budapest during one ceremony [AFP]
    The holiday is a traditional occasion for political rallies in Hungary.

    Earlier, an estimated 200,000 supporters of the main right-wing opposition Fidesz party staged a rally in the capital demanding that Ferenc Gyurcsany, the prime minister, step down.

    Some protesters carried Arpad striped flags, a centuries-old Hungarian banner now associated with the Arrow Cross, a pro-Nazi party that briefly ran Hungary near the end of the Second World War. 

    Leaked tape

    The protests mark a renewal of a campaign to get rid of the prime minister whose admission in a leaked tape that he had lied about the state of the budget to win the 2006 election triggered seven weeks of violent demonstrations last year.

    Right-wing demonstrators threw stones
    and bottles at police [EPA]

    The Socialist prime minister was dogged by barracking and jeers as he attended a series of official ceremonies.

    A crowd of around 300 people shouted "Go, Gyurcsany, go" and "communist pig" during a ceremony outside parliament, the building which was the focus of clashes last year in which 800 demonstrators and police were injured.
     
    As soon as the prime minister arrived to the ceremony to mark the start of the country's national day, he was met by a chorus of boos.
     
    With police watching on, the protesters told Gyurcsany "you must go".
    For a few moments everyone stood in respectful silence as the national anthem was played but as the last bars died away, the angry shouts resumed.
     
    Eggs thrown
     
    One protester told Al Jazeera: "The economy is very bad. We don't want this government."

    Thousands also abused Gyurcsany during a ceremony at the national museum, the site of the start of an 1848 uprising.
       
    He later joined Gabor Demszky, the mayor of Budapest, who had to be protected with umbrellas from eggs thrown by the whistling, booing crowd during a speech on the March 15 Square.
      
    "The mercenaries of fear are among us again. It is because of them that many people awaited the anniversary of our most peaceful revolution with fear," Demszky, a member Alliance of Free Democrats, a junior partner in the ruling coalition, said.
       
    "There are more people with us, no matter how loud this minority is whistling here."

    Since winning elections last April, Gyurcsany's government has broken its campaign promises by hiking taxes and cutting spending to rein in Hungary's budget deficit which, at 10 per cent of gross domestic product, is the biggest in the European Union.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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