An estimated 20,000 Hungarians have taken part in rallies in central Budapest, upholding the traditional way to commemorate their 1848 revolution against the Habsburgs. As FreeHungary reported, many of them, opposition activists, blew whistles and sounded horns in an attempt to drown out a speech by Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Hundreds of police were deployed to keep pro and anti- government supporters apart.
When he did get to address the crowd Orban directed his fire at the European Union criticising its lack of concern about Hungary's future:
"We must stop Brussels. We must protect our borders. We must block the relocation (of migrants)."
Hungary's right-wing populist prime minister called on European nationalist leaders to revolt against an "unholy alliance of Brussels bureaucrats, the liberal world media and insatiable international capitalists".
Orban, whose Fidesz party faces elections in 2018 after two consecutive terms in office, called on nationalist leaders to bring about a "deep but peaceful" transformation of Europe.
"We still have a chance to keep the rising energies of revolt within a constitutional framework and transform the European empire ... but in a peaceful and orderly fashion," Orban told thousands of supporters.
Under Orban, Budapest has locked horns with European and international partners over economic and democratic issues, most recently over migration, which he says is a threat to Europe's socioeconomic make up.
Political upheaval around the world is growing because of challenges to national sovereignty from global capital and international bureaucracies, Orban said, adding that people were expressing their unhappiness with a perceived weakness in the face of mass immigration.
"To preserve our independence we need to bravely fight the battles that lie ahead of us. We must stop Brussels, defend our borders, deny mass relocations," Orban said, adding that government must be "in the hands of nationalist forces".
One opposition speaker and former presidential candidate László Majtényi drew parallels with Hungary's past.
The lesson to be learned from the events of 1848-49 is that "we must not give up the fight" for freedom, no matter how lost the cause may seem, László Majtényi, the former presidential candidate of the opposition parties, said at a demonstration in downtown Budapest. "We don't have to worry about having to put up with the government's System of National Cooperation for too long," Majtényi said at the event commemorating the 1848-49 revolution and freedom fight, which was preceded by a march from the State Opera to Alkotmány Street. "No matter how hopeless the situation may seem, it can change within a matter of hours," he added.
Commenting on Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's speech from earlier in the day, Majtényi said he could not make much sense of it, adding that the prime minister had kept talking about Brussels and "menacing empires". Majtényi, Hungary's former data commissioner, said there are two kinds of nations in the world: those who are freedom loving and those who are free. "The time has come for us to go from being freedom loving to free," Majtényi said. He said a nation became free not when it gains liberty from foreign oppression, but rather when it gets rid of its own oppressors. The demonstrators filled Andrassy Avenue in the Opera area.
A reporter for euronews, Andrea Hajagos said: "Hungary's national holiday is traditionally a day on which the people focus on political issues. Perhaps this will be extended next year when the country will be facing an election campaign as well."
Source: euronews.com; reuters.com
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 March 2017 13:24