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Opposition Demonstrates with Torches At Hungarian Public Broadcaster

Barbara Bene 2022.11.07.

Opposition MP Ákos Hadházy organised a demonstration in front of the Hungarian public broadcaster, MTVA headquarters on Friday, attracting some teachers and students for his initiative.

“Long live the Hungarian freedom, Slava Ukraine”, this was the opening sentence of the demonstration by Ákos Hadházy, reported Hirado.hu, a Hungarian news site whose editorial office is located in the same building. The opposition politician spoke about how people in Hungary are not living in a democracy, but in a hybrid regime. In order to put an end to this, he said that traffic-slowing actions and demonstrations should be used to create confusion so that the government would see the power of protest.

Finally, Ákos Hadházy called on the crowds gathered outside the building to blockade the headquarter of the Hungarian public broadcaster for a while.

He added that the protest would continue until the head of the Media Services and Support Trust Fund (MTVA) resigned.

In addition to the politician, historians and teachers also spoke at the demonstration, with teacher Orsolya Varga saying that teachers had been deprived of security and peace of mind, repeating one of the slogans of the teachers’ protests: “without teachers there is no future”.

The protesters lit torches in front of the building which resulted in an arson incident

Demonstrators chanted “Come out!”, “Wake up!”, “Free country!”, “Free education!”, “Russians back home!” and waved national and EU flags.

However, the demonstration was not entirely peaceful and non-violent, with demonstrators using torches as props.

The broadcasts showed that some of the demonstrators tried to light a larger fire with the torches in front of the headquarters. They were prevented from doing so by a police officer with a fire extinguisher, as reported by Magyar Nemzet, a Hungarian news site. According to reports, several people also threw torches in front of one of the gates of the public television station.

In addition, a complaint was filed with the Budapest Police Headquarters and the Investigative Prosecution Office of Pest against an unknown perpetrator for the crime of vandalism in connection with the demonstration in front of the MTVA headquarters. Another complaint was also filed against Ákos Hadházy on suspicion of preparation to disrupt the operation of a public interest enterprise.

Ákos Hadházy, an independent left-wing MP for a Budapest district, has been criticized for refusing to take his member of parliament oath thus leaving his constituents without any parliamentary representation for months. Finally, six months after the parliamentary elections, Ákos Hadházy took his oath, but omitted the last line of the text, which reads “God help me so”. He is also known for his scandalous behavior in parliament, such as displaying a sign with extremely vulgar message during a debate.

The demonstration in front of MTVA’s headquarters is not an isolated incident, there have been previous cases.

In December 2018, opposition politicians called for masses of people to take to the streets in Budapest, who vandalized the Parliament building on Kossuth Square and the Christmas decorations. They also attempted to enter the headquarters of MTVA and vandalized it. The building was pelted with eggs and the glass panels were seriously damaged.

Featured photos via MTI/Koszticsák Szilárd

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