Individuals behind the openly pro-Orbán site ‘Vadhajtások’ (Wild shoots) hung a puppet of Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi by its leg following an opposition rally. The action has, of course, generated debate and frustration.
The editors of the site – radical nationalists who left Jobbik due to its centrist turn – hung the puppet in II. János Pál (formerly Köztársaság [Republic] ) Square, in front of the former headquarters of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party (MSZMP), which later became the present-day MSZP. When freedom fighters attacked the building during the 1956 revolution, multiple agents of the secret police (called the State Protection Authority [ÁVH] ) were beaten or lynched to death.
According to Vadhajtások, the puppet, originally with Orbán’s face on it, was actually made and displayed in the Kossuth square in front of the Parliament in a protest organized in part by the Democratic Coalition (DK). According to them it was kicked, hit and spit on. Admittedly they stole it after the event, switched its face to Ujhelyi’s and then hung it by its legs.
Ujhelyi has become a target of the group due to voting in favor of the Sargentini report last week, which is, according to them, a betrayal of Hungary. The group explained that they didn’t intend to scare anyone and just wanted to “show the other side of the coin,” referring to this protest and DK’s earlier rally, where Orbán’s picture was attached to a drum and beaten.
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In a message posted to his Facebook page, Ujhelyi revealed he has been on the receiving end of multiple threats, and blamed Orbán’s “hate-mongering policies,” adding that he plans to take legal action against this latest action.
The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) also commented on the matter, warning that Orbán’s far-right supporters often intimidate their opposition with violence. They stated that in recent weeks Ujhelyi has received life-threatening threats, and they condemn both this and the aforementioned drum performance of DK.
Sadly enough, these two acts aren’t without precedent in Hungarian politics. In an opposition rally held in 2013, a polystyrene statue of Viktor Orbán was symbolically toppled. When the head of the statue broke off, one of the organizers, famous rapper ‘Dopeman’, kicked it along the ground. He was later charged but acquitted.
Last year, Fidesz MP János Pócs posted a photo to his Facebook channel that soon went viral worldwide. The photo shows a group of people posing next to a slaughtered pig with the words “Ő VOLT A SOROS” carved into its charred skin. The phrase can either be translated to mean “He was next in line” or “This was Soros,” (billionaire George Soros, Hungary’s main enemy in the government’s communication).
featured image via Vajda József/ Népszava