Opposition activists whistled to spoil Prime Minister Viktor Orban's speech on Wednesday commemorating Hungary's 1848 revolution against the Habsburgs.
Speaking outside the National Museum, Orban again took aim at the European Union bureaucracy in Brussels and international financial powers, saying they were not concerned about Hungary's past and future and that the country needs to be protected from migration.
Several hundred protesters, many of them supporters of the center-left opposition party Egyutt (Together), blew referee whistles and horns and made Orban's speech hard to hear in different areas around the National Museum.
Together chairman Peter Juhasz said the protest was an act of last resort due to Orban's isolation.
"Viktor Orban is unwilling to face the public in any forum and he is unwilling to publicly debate opposition politicians," Juhasz said. "He does not answer questions from independent journalists and citizens have no way of giving him feedback."
Together, which holds two of the 199 seats in parliament, describes itself as a "sober, centrist" party of liberal democrats opposed to populism.
Late Tuesday, a court order revoked a police ban on the whistling, but only Orban supporters with special invitations were allowed close to the platform from where the prime minister spoke. While some there was some pushing between Orban supporters and those whistling, there was no repeat of the violent confrontations at a similar event last October.
Orban, an early supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump especially because of his anti-migration stance and disdain for political correctness, suggested that other countries in Europe would follow in the footsteps of the United States and Britain in breaking with the status quo.
"In the past year, nations have again rebelled," Orban said. "They rebelled against the hypocritical alliance of the Brussels bureaucrats, the liberal global media and the bottomless paunch of international capital."
"This year, it will be continued," Orban said in reference to elections Wednesday in The Netherlands and later this year in France and Germany.
He reiterated his opposition to an EU scheme to relocate asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to other EU countries until their asylum requests are decided.
"We must stop Brussels," Orban said. "We must protect our borders. We must block the relocation (of migrants)."
Orban's new policy aimed at keeping all asylum seekers, including children older than 14, in container camps on the Serbian border, has drawn sharp criticism from United Nations agencies, the Council of Europe and human rights groups.
Supporters of Hungary's so-called democratic, or left-liberal, opposition convened at the Opera House on Andrássy Blvd. shortly after 2pm. One hour later, the crowd of approximately 2,000 supporters held a peaceful march led by László Majtényi to Kossuth Square.
Opposition politicians and supporters from virtually every left-liberal party could be spotted in the crowd, waving flags and marching alongside one another. A truck led the procession, blasting music from famous artists such as Michael Jackson, Quimby (but performed by Csík Zenekar), Michael Flatley, and Tom Jones.
Majtényi, who challenged incumbent President János Áder but was defeated in a parliamentary vote Monday, delivered a speech upon arriving to Kossuth Square. According to Majtényi, he was bullied as a child which led him to vow never become a bully himself, but instead to become a person who would protect those most vulnerable in society.
He also praised nurse-turned civil activist Mária Sándor for all she had done for health care and the Fourth Republic. The crowd cheered and clapped for her.
Turning to Orbán's speech earlier in the day, Majtényi said that all the prime minister did was complain about Brussels and civilizations he feels pose a threat to Hungary.
Referring the March 15th celebrations, Majtényi said the lesson of this holiday is that Hungarians should not give up, not even if they believe the issue of freedom is lost.
"In March 1848, in the days just before the outbreak of revolution in Vienna, nobody counted on there being freedom for Hungary, just some hot-headed young people and a very few hot-headed politicians. And what happened? The revolution came out of nowhere and in just a day, the country became free. And the national unity which did not exist until then was formed in a single moment. It all came together. And then entire nation recited the same poem and made the same demands towards the Austrian court. Miracles can happen at any time," Majtényi said. "As hopeless as a situation can be, everything can change within hours."
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 March 2017 13:22