The opposition Socialist and Párbeszéd parties laid a wreath at the statue of Hungary’s martyred Prime Minister Imre Nagy in Budapest, marking the 62nd anniversary of the 1956 anti-Soviet revolution, on Tuesday.
Párbeszéd co-leader Gergely Karácsony told reporters after the wreath-laying ceremony that Nagy had “restored people’s faith” that Hungary could become an independent country of freedom and equality where workers could control their own factories and where freedom and equality were compatible values.
Socialist Party leader Bertalan Tóth underlined the importance of values that keep society together, adding that patriotism, which he said was one of these values, had been at the core of Nagy’s message. Nagy traded his past beliefs for the hope of the future and supported the revolution, giving his life for freedom and his country, Tóth said.
Karácsony and Tóth said their parties will do everything in their power to ensure that Nagy’s statue, that the government wants to move to a new place, stays in Vértanúk Square in central Budapest.
The executive deputy head of the leftist Democratic Coalition (DK) said on Tuesday at the party’s commemoration of the 1956 anti-Soviet uprising that the fight in 2018 was being fought for the same goals as the revolution had been: for the rule of law and an independent, democratic state.
Csaba Molnár, who is also an MEP of the party, spoke to the press after laying a wreath at the statue of Hungary’s martyred prime minister Imre Nagy in Budapest. He said Nagy and his companions had wanted freedom of the press, religion and association.
The same freedoms are missing today, Molnár said.
There is no freedom of the press, freedom of association and the Hungarian people’s fate is decided in Moscow meeting rooms”
Molnár said DK “has declared its resistance” because they believe in the same values as the heroes of 1956: “we cannot let a small group rob the people of freedom for their own interests.”
Molnár accused ruling Fidesz of wanting to remove Nagy’s statue from the vicinity of Parliament, “after having erased his memory from the official historical remembrance.”
DK leader Ferenc Gyurcsány told the party’s commemorative event that the reason DK had been established on October 23rd was to demonstrate that its founders were on the same side as Nagy.
One cannot be “a little bit in the opposition or very much in the opposition,” Gyurcsány said. In line with the essence of democracy, “it is not possible to stand close to [ruling] Fidesz or very far from Fidesz, only against Fidesz,” he added.
DK identifies with a European, civic and constitutional standard in line with which those in the government should be branded “crooks” without hesitation because “they are indeed crooks in a political and also a criminal sense,” he added.
The co-leader of green opposition LMP said at the party’s commemoration of the 1956 anti-Soviet uprising that the freedom of Hungary is threatened time and again but Hungarians will not allow their rights, “voice and thoughts” to be stifled.
Speaking at a memorial of the revolution, László Lóránt Keresztes said that
those who opposed the regime thirty years ago have become soldiers of treason, theft and destruction”
“They have learnt and implement everything they used to fight against,” he said, adding that “the unnamed operators of the Communist regime now sit among the ranks of [ruling] Fidesz”.
The leaders of the country boast of patriotism but in reality are reinstating the Communist regime they grew up in, he said. The incumbent “Bolshevik-type” government has brought a “grievous tragedy to our nation,” the emigration of several hundreds of thousands of Hungarians, similarly to the situation after the revolution in 1956, he said.
Hungary must however “step into the 21st century” and “remove the thieves betraying and robbing our country.” Today’s youth has to use knowledge and information instead of weapons, although the ruling power is trying to strip them of those tools, Keresztes said.
The message of 1956 is to fight constantly for what we believe in and for those we love”
Keresztes laid a wreath with his fellow co-leader Márta Demeter at the mural commemorating Péter Mansfeld, who participated in the revolution at the age of 15 and was executed shortly after turning 18.
featured photo by Noémi Bruzák/MTI