Europe

Hungary uprising anniversary marked by rival rallies

  • 23 October 2013
  • From the section Europe
Viktor Orban addresses the crowd at Heroes Square, Budapest. 23 Oct 2013
Viktor Orban compared his opponents to those who betrayed the 1956 uprising

Tens of thousands of people have taken part in rival rallies in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, to mark the anniversary of the 1956 uprising against the Soviet Union.

Although many took to the streets to remember the victims, events were dominated by party politics.

Conservative PM Viktor Orban likened his opponents to those who betrayed the uprising, while an opposition rally called for Mr Orban to be removed.

Hungary is to hold elections next year.

The BBC's Nick Thorpe in Hungary said the largest crowd gathered at Heroes Square to listened to Mr Orban rail against "domestic traitors" and "foreign speculators".

Mr Orban compared opposition parties with those who betrayed the revolution 57 years ago, and likened Soviet troops to foreign banks and speculators today.

At another demonstration on the banks of the Danube, about 20,000 people heard an array of leftist and liberal party leaders call for the ousting of Mr Orban's government.

Meanwhile, in the city centre the far-right Jobbik party lambasted both the government and other opposition parties.

Our correspondent says many people tried to ignore the party-political events and remember the victims of the uprising - those who fell on the barricades or were executed or imprisoned after it was crushed.

The events of 1956 became a lasting symbol of the Cold War.

Hungary declared 23 October a national holiday after democracy was restored in Hungary in 1990.

Mr Orban has been able to push through changes to Hungary's constitution because of the two-thirds majority his Fidesz party and its allies enjoy in parliament following the 2010 election.

However, critics have accused him of eroding democratic rights.

Those who died in the uprising and its aftermath were remembered

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