National television under siege in Hungary

 
Angry demonstrators occupied the state television headquarters on Liberty Square in the heart of Budapest, Hungary. The people had been gathering at Kossuth square (in front of the parliament, pretty near to Liberty square) since Sunday evening, with the strong will to send away the government. Before that on the same day a record was leaked with a speech from Gyurcsány Ferenc, the prime minister. The tape was recorded during a closed meeting of the ruling socialist parties fraction in may, after they have won the elections.

[ Indymedia Hungary | pictures | 10 point petition by the september18 anarchist group English | article in French]

„There is not much choice. There is not, because we fucked up. Not a little, a lot. No European country has done something as boneheaded as we have. Evidently, we lied throughout the last year-and-a-half, two years. It was totally clear that what we are saying is not true. You cannot quote any significant government measure we can be proud of, other than at the end we managed to bring the government back from the brink. Nothing. If we have to give account to the country about what we did for four years, then what do we say?” Gyurcsány Ferenc, prime minister
„Content wise the yesterday leaked tape wasn’t a big news.” Sólyom László, president of state
„In campaign season one could organize political gatherings without asking permission from the police. So as the police deems the demonstration is not illegal, told Gergényi Péter the head of the Budapest Police to one of the mainstream online portals.”

The rioters burnt cars at the building of the TV, they also attacked water canons, after the fight one canon was demolished and the police officers run away – they came back after two a.m. A few police officers were disarmed while the spokesman of the police told that 5000 riot police could arrive in every minute. The rumor with the arriving riot police was spreading quite fast – so that people quickly dispersed. After some hours riot cops truly appeared on site and people had to run for real.

Inside the building of the TV the people were looting chocolate automats, they were demolishing the interior, some people took out computers; and on the top of the barricade in the entrance of the building there was an empty shopping cart.

The protesters represented mixed political convictions. Many nationalists, football hooligans mixed with the crowd, on Kossuth Square it was mostly right wing, but when we were at the television, the normal non-fascist workers and ghetto kids were kicking one of the cars of the television, while lovers photographed themselves on the top of the burnt-out water cannon... around a smoking car some happy anarchists (the September Eighteenth) distributed leaflets.

By 5 o'clock in the morning, the police pushed out the few protesters who reamined in the building, and began investigating the scene on Liberty Square. Tonight people have switched off the television and took the street. The siege of the TV. The siege of the Spectacle.

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The revolutionary 10 points in English

mindennnap56 19.Sep.2006 21:25

"In the Republic of Hungary, all power is held by the People"
(quote from our constitution)
(Background: These points are only a slight improvement over the revolutionary points put forward by the Hungarian people during the revolution of 1948.)

The revolutionary 10 points.

Let there be peace, liberty and unity.

1./ Disband parliament! Autonomy instead of Authority!
2./ [let there be a]Contributive democracy!
3./ Bring our troops back [from abroad], and send home all foreign troops! [let there be]Peace!
4./ [let there be]Liberal, independent and contributive media!
5./ Equal taxes, equal social services! Stop the rule of capital and multinational companies!
6./ Local agriculture, without GM technology!
7./ Open up uninhabited buildings [for all]! [let there be]Community places and homes for people!
8./ Autonomy for the Universities!
9./ Civil and social services shall not serve capitalistic interests!
10./ Solidaristic society instead of dependence on social services!

(September 18th group)

'56 [revolution] every day!

eyewitness report

thecoderguy 20.Sep.2006 12:16


REVOLUTION 4k intro

- Introducing the smallest revolution of Hungary -

The shit hit the fan in Hungary on the last weekend.
(Background info)

A half hour recording of ex-regime member turned businessman turned democratic politician Ferenc Gyurcsany, PM of Hungary, was "leaked" to dozens of news media companies on Saturday in a highly organised manner. It was a party-members-only conference speech by him about using lies for governing- and election-policy years and years on end. Local economy is on the edge, harsh tax raises and cancelling several social benefit programs were just announced during the last few months, so public tension was already high. -Parts of the "leaked" confidential speech blew the fuse for many folks, and peaceful protests started at the Parliament on Sunday afternoon by a few hundred people.


Sleeping Anger

On this Monday, the protests continued, and the number of protesters multiplied by early evening into the 10'000+. I was surprised to see the majority of participants were apparently not socially disadvantaged poor folks who are most critically impacted by current economical restrictions, but middle-class people from middle-class families like me, predominantly in their 20s to 40s. There was pretty high agitation as well as anger -- when we were not shouting slogans or listening to various self-made spokesmen on a made-shift loudspeaker system, most of us were freely talking with people we met for the first time. Just as I expected, I found out that the majority of us were those who voted NOT for the current governing coalition, but there were also a smaller number of their voters present, those who turned really bitter and pissed about laying their trust into them. As could be expected, oddballs, radicals and extremists appeared as well, I estimate less than 500 in total for the radical/extreme right folks, that including the soccer hooligans.

Sometimes after 22:00 we heard a lot of shouting that there was something heavy happening at the main public broadcast TV building, that used to be the state-owned regime TV station in the old days. The TV building is a historically prominent place because of its key role during the 1956 Revolution -- the '56 revolution exploded with the people taking over this state-owned TV and starting their broadcasts to mobilise the rest of the country.

[It was only made clear to me later that initially two right radicalist leaders were entering the TV, and tried to get their political petition broadcast -- demanding the governing coalition to disband. They were refused, and the company security personnel _illegally_ tried to arrest /capture both of them -- here only the police can do valid arrests. One guy barely escaped the building and then things rapidly escalated as the hardcore right radicalists including a few dozen very well known soccer hooligans tried to enter the building by force, the security guys called the police, some police force managed to enter the building from the other side, then secu+police barricaded the enterance and used tear gas and the firehoses to keep crazed rioters away. It was then that some of these guys came back to the parliament and called us to the TV building -we were too prompt to go there because of the place's historical significance of exploding the 1956 Revolution]

On arriving there, I found riot police and an armoured vehicle with water cannon trying to disperse the rioters and protesters.

I can fairly say that police's reaction was PROVOCATIVE, as they started to use tear gas against all of us indiscriminately -- against the apparently non-agressive and separated protesters as well as against obviously extremist elements attacking the enterance of the building.


TV building

Shortly after I arrived there and got tear gased, came the riot police assault. We were angry about the shameless shit the .gov was doing for years, especially now that the "leaked" record had so many extra details on it, sprinkled with the worst bloody outrageous style and slandering on the country by the PM. We were some 5000 or so by now, and the police was really pouring down tear gas and water cannon on us. There were also, I estimate, 500-600 riot police in protective gear and plastic shields to disperse us. Were we in an asphalt-paved area of the city, they would have succeeded!

But the square in front of the TV building had these 6cm*6cm granite cubes covering most of the ground, for some decorative paving...
We were so angry, and they came so handy.

Came the assault, we withdrew for 5 seconds or so, then we started harvesting the stones and salvoing the riot police, breaking up their formation and pushing them afar!
Then again!
Then again!!!
-I think we defeated 3 assault waves by salvoing them with the cobblestones. That is incredible, I feel PROUD about it!
I am also proud about many of us helping and picking up injured riot police, and transporting them back to their squadrons. We are not animals.

As a fundamental cornerstone of Democracy, every country shall have these handy cobblestones covering public areas around government buildings, news media institutions and business districts.


The Water Cannon

Riot police had this idea of penetrating the protesters with a wedge lead by an armoured mobile water cannon with about 600 riot police covering behind it, then disperse us from the square.

There were just a few CRUCIAL mistakes made here.
1./ They were entering a wide open area with an armoured vehicle leading in front as a shield to riot police infantry -- it was of no use for cover, as we could easily outmaneuver it.
2./ The water cannon was just heading straight into the middle of the protesters across a large square with areas of bare ground -- they were so busy shooting the water cannon forward that the patches of bare ground turned into deep mud and trapped the heavy armoured thing as it tried to cross it.
3./ The water cannon had an integrated tear gas self-defence mechanism -- it ran out some half an hour after we flanked the tailing riot police and CHASED THEM AWAY with massive salvoes of mentioned 6cm*6cm granite cobblestones, then surrounding the stuck vehicle.

When it was finally out of tear gas, we DEMOLISHED the vehicle, removed the driver/turret operator guys and quickly lead them back to their squadron in safety because some crazy people wanted lynching them.

Then the water cannon was literally taken apart for souvenirs, I have seen people taking parts of dashboard and various bits and pieces home for relics.


TV building pt.2

The total of 120-150? radical/extreme right rioters finally defeated the 30+ police+security force holding the barricade with firehoses and tear gas -- the barricade was raised from heavy doors torn off inside the building and even from the security gate with metal detector and other solid materials the people inside had at hand.

When the barricade was torn down, I only seen a small part of the radicals/extremists actually entering, they rather stayed outside for some reason. But it was several hundreds of us, protesters entering - inside, I was just staying at the lobby for a look-around but did not go up the stairs to the offices/studios.

From my experience while I was there, and from two other accounts, we did not notice any systematic destroying from other protesters, so I was surprised by later claims today that "several offices were burned down and others destroyed"??? Soon we left, only a few dozen people stayed inside the building and out in the square, it was almost 3 in the morning after all...


Echoes of '56

In 1956, our Revolution for independence from the Soviet rule bloomed with the people forcibly entering the State TV building, just like now.

-In fact, the characteristic flag of the '56 Revolution -- the Hungarian flag with a torn hole in the middle -- was heavily featured in this event.

You can find a bunch of pictures here about the happenings, pulled from various sources.

A news item in english at indymedia.hu about the same event:
 http://www.indymedia.hu/cikk.shtml?x=31932


NEXT PART?

WHAT A SURPRISE, our government and affiliated media accuses "the extremists" for everything yet again -- anything out of their direct personal and financial interest is extremism after all, isn't it?

We are on the streets again tonight, and will keep up until something changes about local politics.

Expect the sequel to REVOLUTION 4k tomorrow.

-Please, feel welcomed to join the party, new releases every day until we hack or crack the system!

***
Personal account: thecoderguy
English translation: thedesignerguy
***

* * *

TUESDAY EVENING UPDATE!

Briefly about tonight's event.

Sunday, when it started, it was 150+ people.

Monday 10'000+, almost half moving over to the TV building and clashing with the riot police.

Tuesday night it is maybe 80'000 or more people peacefully protesting at the parliament, with 50-60 other cities keeping solidarity protests with a few thousand people per city. There is only some thousand police here at the parliament, and they look like pretty scared and worried.
I just got home, but I will be back there Wednesday evening.

Rightwing Protests

X 20.Sep.2006 18:57

The protests are mostly rightwing.

Video footage of the riot

btb 21.Sep.2006 20:21

'StreetJimy' has put four videos of the events on youtube at  http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=StreetJimmy

Corroborates the above description to the letter (and makes for great viewing).

updates!

thedesignerguy 22.Sep.2006 15:55

Uprising in Hungary: an update
thedesignerguy - 21.09.2006 18:17

REVOLUTION 64k intro

The turmoil in Hungary is by no means over yet. International media are reporting less every day about the protests, and when they do they emphasise the violence that occurs. In reality the protests are increasing in numbers every day, as is the repression and desinformation.

Protests at Multiple Locations

There has been an ongoing peaceful protest every day since Sept.17th at Kossuth square, in front of the Parliament. Ever since the 18th., in over 30 other cities solidarity protests are continuing every day, mostly massing in the thousands. So far all these protests have been completely peaceful.

The violent protests and some riots which you see in the international media recur every night:

-Sept.18 riots broke out at the public broadcast TV building.

-Sept.19 at multiple locations At first a group of protesters attempted to close on the governing coalition's major party's HQ, but could not get there because of police barricades. Then more violent protests started at multiple locations, with some damage to public and private property at Ferenc boulevard, Blaha square, Felvonulasi Terseg ('Avenue of Marching Workers' in the old days).

-Sept.20 At multiple locations clashes occured with riot police: Blaha square, Oktogon square, Nyugati train station, A Terror Haza ('House of Terror', which housed the WWII german-collaborating secret police, then after WWII the same building housed the Soviet-allied secret police)

According to a few hazy media reports, the damage to public and private property on the Tuesday evening events was less than damage at the TV building the previous evening.


Limiting Civil Rights and Media Liberties

Blocking Cellular Phone Networks to Stop Self-organisation.
To make communication between rioters more difficult, police is planning to block cellular networks at "sensitive areas", according to Magyar Hirlap(Hungarian Post).
 http://index.hu/politika/belfold/tuntet0917/

"Not protest, but mere criminal activity"
Laszlo Solyom, Minister of the Republic, announced in his Tusday speech that the events happening on Monday night are falling out of the definition of political protest, and are in fact crimes to be punished according to common law. Then he officially mentioned that "protesters who are passively watching the violent activities, as well as protesters who watch passively but in agreement with the perpetrators, are sharing the responsibility".
The whole speech, including the above statement, is officially available at the KEH (Office of the Ministry of Republic) site:
 http://www.keh.hu/keh/20060919nyilatkozat.html


Curfew Warning
According to Jozsef Petretei, Minister of Justice and Law Enforcement, "we should consider about enacting a curfew, or using certain other methods, to stop the nightly attrocities from recurring". Later he made an extra public statement and emphasized that enacting a curfew was just mentioned as a theoretical possibility.
 http://www.hirtv.hu/?tPath=/belfold/&article_hid=116232
 http://www.indymedia.hu/cikk.shtml?x=32060


First Arrests and Illegal Police Procedure.
On the 19th agents from national security and police visited some identified persons, generally "most dangerous elements" and "leader types", and carried away people. Following is one of the few examples that make it to the outside world:
NBH(National Security Office) agents forced open the door of computer scene member and radical blogger Tomcat\MWI, and carried him away from his home on the early evening of 19th. According to his girlfriend the agents had no valid search warrant or even an arrest warrant, so they took him away by "placing him under custody because of suspicion of involvement". She also had to visit the police and make her statement. Tomcat is currently held there in custody, that can last up to 72 hours, until they decide further procedures. According to his girlfriend he was denied the standard procedure of contacting his lawyer, and when the lawyer got word about it from the girlfriend and visited the place of custody, he was not allowed to enter and visit his client.
Posted in today's blog entry by Tomcat's girlfriend here:
 http://blog.tomcatpolo.hu/index.html?loadpage=http://blog.tomcatpolo.hu/blog/blog/maiblog.html


WEDNESDAY evening events

Some translated fresh news bits from two major TV/news portals, and thematically sorted:

Arrests.

"So far 137 people were arrested, under suspicion of participation in Monday-Tuesday events."
 http://www.hirtv.hu/?tPath=/belfold/&article_hid=116275


The Police.

"According to our correspondent, two young kids were mock-fighting for fun in front of two of their friends, at Astoria square. Then some police were jumping them from a police van prowling nearby, beat up all four kids and took them away."
 http://index.hu/politika/belfold/tuntet0917/

"A group of 6-8 young kids, at first sight apparently non-rioting types, were beaten up by the police with overt violence on Akacfa street, in the section between Wesselenyi and Dob streets.
One victim had three of his teeth broken from his mouth and several are still lying helplessly on the ground, our correspondent was calling the ambulance to pick them up. The victims claim they don't know any palpable reason why they were attacked by the Police."
 http://index.hu/politika/belfold/tuntet0917/

A protester was shot in the stomach at point-blank range with a CS gas rifle grenade by Police at Oktogon square.
 http://index.hu/politika/belfold/tuntet0917/

"Police arrested a big butch bald guy after finding a knife with blade length over 8cm on his person, according to our correspondent at the events."
 http://index.hu/politika/belfold/tuntet0917/

Whereas during the day everything appears to be peaceful in the streets of Budapest, during the evening riot- and normal police are massively, acting very aggressive and provocative to everyone. Not only during the riots, but also when nothing threatening was at hand. They were at random interrogating people, calling them names and being very aggressive again. During some incidents on wednesday evening, the police is seen to have been throwing all kinds of projectiles at protesters.


The Protesters.

"Sólyomhoz fordulnak a tüntetõk"
"Protesters at Kossuth square, in front of the Parliament accepted by common vouching to send a delegation to Laszlo Solyom, Minister of the Republic. The delegation will include, according to them, Maria Wittner, Laszlo Toroczkai, Lorant Hegedus jr., Andras Takacs and Laszlo Gonda. Andras Takacs informed us that they proposed a Thursday meeting at the Minister of Republic. They intend to meet specifically him is because 'he has considerable influence on inland politics, and has the political tools at hand to make the current governing coalition leave office'."
 http://index.hu/politika/belfold/tuntet0917/

Even though Lorant Hegedus jr. and Laszlo Toroczkai are extreme rightists, it is again important to notice that the uprising as a whole is NOT led by the extreme-right.
Maria Wittner is a public hero of the 1956 Revolution, she was awarded the 'Magyar Köztársasági Érdemrend Nagykeresztje'(Grand Cross of the Hungarian Republic Award) by the Minister of Republic a few years ago. She is an outspoken opponent of MSZMP, the old Soviet allied regime's political party, and of current governing coalition majority partner MSZP, the legal political successor of MSZMP.


Students organising.
On wednesday the universities were completely shut down, all classes were withheld, and nobody was allowed to enter. This as reaction to the plans of the student organisations HOOK and Hallgatoi Halozat to organise a meeting at the auditorium. Classes continued again as 'normal' on thursday, but the student organisations are forbidden to undertake any activities on university ground.
Thursday afternoon, Hallgatoi Halozat started an extensive schedule of open discussions and performances, under the title "Kept out, but staying open". (HOOK is the general student organisation, Hallgatoi Halozat is the autonomous/anarchist student organisation)


Videos about Wednesday evening
 http://www.hirtv.hu/?tPath=/belfold/&article_hid=116237
[click links under the title 'Videok']

Events in Pictures
 http://index.hu/politika/belfold/2006/elkurtuk/galeriak/

For more background information on the complex political situation:
 http://www.indymedia.hu/cikk.shtml?x=32081

More material will be posted here when available!

videomaterial

cameraguy 22.Sep.2006 15:56

videomaterial:

 http://freeteam.xs4all.nl/hungary/Tuesday-Blahasquare-CopsGased.avi
A teargasgrenade fired by the riot-police is thrown back at the line, shortly stunning them.

 http://freeteam.xs4all.nl/hungary/Tuesday-Blahasquare-OldPops.avi
A man is standing in front of policeline, and telling them off. "you want to be a martyr? what are you kids doing here? I was here in the revolution of 1956!!!"

 http://freeteam.xs4all.nl/hungary/Tuesday-Blahasquare-FULLpt1.avi (54 MB)

 http://freeteam.xs4all.nl/hungary/Tuesday-Blahasquare-FULLpt2.avi (55 MB)

Massprotests in Hungary continuing

indymedia.nl 23.Sep.2006 20:04

Massprotests in Hungary are continuing every day. The whole week there have been mass gatherings near the parliamentbuildings at KossuthSquare. During the night several hundreds of protesters are camping at the square, at daytime joined by thousands of opposers of the government.

At this moment between 20 and 30.000 people are gathered in front of the parliamentbuildings in Budapest. For the sixth day the square is completely filled with peaceful protesters who joined the protestgathering. In the afternoon and early evening, many public figures appear on the stage raised in front of the Parliament and held speeches. The ideological range of speakers was heterogenous, from reform-communist to conservative to radical-right.

From about 18:00, the most notable speakers are:
-Imre Pozsgay; ex-MSZMP member reform-communist, was a key figure of introducing democracy and pluralism to Hungary.
-Laszlo Tokes; Ethnic Hungarian key figure of the 1989 Romanian Revolution.
-Maria Wittner; Heroin of 1956 Revolution, received the highest civil award of the Republic of Hungary a few years ago.

Announced at the event was the formation of a broad association called 'Uj Magyarorszag' (New Hungary), by public figures from the ideological left and right. I will add more details on it when they are available.
The most-often used slogan by protesters was: "Let him step down!", referring to Ferenc Gyurcsany, the prime-minister of Hungary.

Neonazis also announced activities for today, but luckily so far none of them has been spotted yet. Amongst them was "Lelkiismeret88", a violent neonazi splinter and a hardcore soccerhooligan group called "Ferencvaros".


(dutch translation at  http://indymedia.nl/nl/2006/09/39044.shtml)

hooligans

nl 23.Sep.2006 20:35

As feared earlier around 22:00 de hardcore hooligan group arrived at Kossuth square. Several hundred of supporters of the 'Ferencvaros' team are now standing at the edge of the manifestation with trumpets, flags and drums. As the crowd is so dense, they can't enter the centre of the square yet. There have been no signs of violence as yet, but the atmosphere has become more tensed now.