Budapest Riot Updates

Update on Budapest demonstrations (Thurs., 11:00 CET) By: CaboodleNews:10:00 Following are the most recent important developments relating to this week’s unrest in Budapest: • Following a series of confrontations last night between rioters and the police, 55 people were taken into custody and 17 needed to be hospitalized. “Accelerated” legal proceedings have been started against detained protestors. • As of this morning, only a few dozen protesters remain on Kossuth tér, in front of the Hungarian Parliament. Some of the protestors confirmed to the media that a few “agitators” have been responsible for the violence and tension. Last night some of those protesting peacefully decided to send a delegation to State President László Sólyom to propose a “National Round Table” (Nemzeti Kerekasztal) to deal with the country’s political unrest. • An English-speaking woman who brought several kitchen knives to Kossuth tér was led away by police this morning. She said she had come to Hungary to protest for the removal of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány. • Despite earlier plans, neither former US President George Bush nor Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice are likely to come to Hungary for the 50th anniversary of the 1956 revolution next month. • Local sporting goods stores have sold their entire stocks of baseball bats, state news wire MTI reported yesterday. MTI had surveyed stores because footage of some protests in Budapest showed rioters hitting a police car with baseball bats. • A larger than normal contingent of bodyguards is accompanying Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, and his home is being secured by police officers. He was also offered a safer vehicle than the current, but he did not accept it. • At least two agitators were apprehended last night in Pécs trying to cause trouble at an otherwise peaceful demonstration. Meanwhile, unknown perpetrators broke the glass door of the local headquarters of the governing Socialist Party (MSZP) and painted “Death to MSZP!” on another of the party’s office buildings. • Budapest’s Eastern Railway Station (Keleti pályaudvar) was closed this morning at 7:45 due to a bomb scare. Service returned to normal a little after 9 a.m. as no explosives were found.