In the wake of last week’s by-election defeat in Hódmezővásárhely, Fidesz activists announced on Monday that they would once again organize a so-called “Peace March” -a rally in order to support the Orbán government- on March 15. The walk will be held before the Prime Minister’s speech.
March 15th will be a busy day in Budapest, not only because of the usual commemorations of the Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence of 1848-49, but also because, besides Fidesz’s Peace March, which will probably attract tens of thousands, there are reports that an opposition gathering is being arranged, as well as another student demonstration, while the satirical Two-Tailed Dog Party (MKKP) announced that they would take to the streets as well to mock Fidesz’s Peace March. Little more than 3 weeks ahead of the elections, all of them will get special attention and probably a massive number of demonstrators.
All of this comes in the wake of Hódmezővásárhely’s mayoral by-elections, which ended in the surprising upset victory of Péter Márki-Zay, the joint opposition candidate who beat Fidesz politician and Deputy Mayor Zoltán Hegedüs by nearly 16%. This defeat, in turn, seems to have mobilized Orbán’s ruling Fidesz party.
“In Hódmezővásárhely they got hope, they now believe that they are strong and our dream is gone. Let’s show them that we are many!”
These were the words of Zsolt Bayer, a controversial pro-Fidesz journalist and one of the organizers of the rally. Zsolt Bayer has often been accused by critics of stirring up racism and anti-Semitism with his articles.
Demonstrators at MKKP’s last mock rally holding up a Russian-flag banner embalzoned with the words “we won’t be a colony” in Hungarian and Russian (Photo: MTI- Balázs Mohai)
This will be the 7th Peace March organized by the pro-government Civil Union Forum (CÖF). The first was organised in March 2012 in order to support the then 2nd Orbán-government, which officially does not provide direct organizational or financial support for the demonstrations; local Fidesz organizations, however, play important role in trasportation of supporters and other logistical tasks. MKKP’s first Peace March was held in April 2017, in which they mocked the government’s policies; this will probably be the goal of the second such march as well.
image via MTI