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Man Cuts Woman’s Face for Wearing ‘Free SZFE’ Mask, Awaits Trial in Police Custody

Hungary Today 2021.03.01.

A suspect who attacked a woman wearing a ‘Free SZFE’ mask on a bus on Thursday is in police custody, awaiting trial. According to 24.hu’s information, the man who was previously involved in politically-motivated conflicts, admitted that he lashed out because of the slogan.

It made headlines on Thursday that a woman had been attacked on a bus in Csepel (Budapest’s 21st district). Her attacker cut off her mask with a knife, lightly wounding the woman’s face as well. Immediately after the news was made public, many supposed the attack to have been politically-motivated and that the woman’s ‘Free SZFE’ face-mask was what drove the man to attack her. The attacker, named Bence O., aged 37, has since admitted this, according to 24.hu.

Fact

‘Free SZFE’ is the slogan of the opposers of the government’s forced and controversial restructuring of the University of Theater and Film Arts (or SZFE after its Hungarian acronym). You can read more about it here, here and here.

The police captured him just hours after the attack.

Bence O. has a history of similar conflicts. For example, he physically assaulted two Socialist (MSZP) activists at the party’s signature-collecting stand in April 2019, for which he was initially fined and sentenced to community service, but is still ahead of the second instance trial after the prosecution appealed for a prison sentence.

In addition, according to Telex’s information, he was the one to have vandalized electoral billboards and assaulted a journalist who took a photograph of him doing so. Although for that last case he hasn’t been prosecuted.

Fact

Meanwhile, on Friday another stabbing hit the news. An off-duty bus driver stabbed a youngster at a bus stop after an argument with him and his friend ended in a brawl. While the bus driver himself got injured, the victim was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

featured photo: students wearing ‘Free SZFE’ mask (illustration); via SZFE Students Union’s Facebook page