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Hungarian anti-government protest continues without violence

Hungarian anti-government demonstrations continued peacefully for a seventh day yesterday, even as the largest crowd of a week marred by riots gathered in downtown Budapest and a protest leader predicted violence. Protesters, estimated at 25,000 by the state-run news agency MTI, called for the resignation of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány and new election in a demonstration in front of parliament.

Speakers included a vice president of the largest opposition party Fidesz. The demonstration was peaceful for a third consecutive night.

Earlier this week, the most sustained street violence since Soviet tanks crushed an anti-communist uprising in 1956 left more than 260 people injured and about 200 were arrested. The crowd was dispersing by 1:20 a.m. in Budapest. Kemal György Ekrem, who identified himself as a spokesman for the demonstration, said the protesters were ready to take radical and violent measures to force Gyurcsány’s resignation.

The demonstrations and riots began Sept. 17, when media got hold of a tape recording in which Gyurcsány said his government had lied about the state of the economy to win elections in April. Gyurcsány has rejected calls to resign and said he will stand firm by austerity measures needed to cut Europe's largest budget deficit in comparison with the size of the economy.


(BBJ 25.ix.06)

 
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