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Counter terrorist raid mocked and praised

September 15th, 2012

A staunch left-wing critic of the Orbán government ridicules the counter terrorism squad for assaulting a university campus and taking a student dressed up as a Jedi knight in custody. But the leading left-wing daily and a pro-government pundit believe that there is nothing funny about the episode.

The counter terrorism unit (TEK), set up by the Fidesz government in 2010 and led by PM Viktor Orbán’s former chief body guard, evacuated a university building after receiving two emergency calls from students claiming that one of their fellows had entered a classroom with a gun. As it later turned out, it was just a freshman, dressed up as a Jedi, who went to class wearing a bathrobe, carrying a plastic pistol and light sabre. The university was evacuated, and the student armed with the plastic gun was overwhelmed by the counter terrorism unit. After a brief interrogation, he was released. The police soon dropped the case. The counter terrorism unit claimed that it had no option but to treat the situation as a real emergency, and intervene after the two calls without wasting time further assessing the situation.

In Népszava, János Dési mocks the counter terrorism unit, calling it a useless and incompetent body. Dési likens PM Orbán to Roman emperors, who set up “private armies” fully loyal to their leader. The left-wing pundit (who ends all his opinion pieces by demanding Orbán’s resignation) claims the Jedi episode shows that Orbán’s hopeless squad is only good for theatrical stunts, but could not be effective in a real emergency.

The left-wing media makes fun of the counter terrorism unit in the hope of weakening Viktor Orbán, who set up the new force, László Szentesi Zöldi writes in Magyar Hírlap. The pro-government pundit believes that the counter terrorism unit has proven that it is capable of solving emergency cases, among others by rescuing Hungarians kidnapped in Syria. Szentesi also hints that the most ardent critics of the new counter terrorism force are those corrupt police leaders who in the past cooperated with high profile mafia godfathers.

Népszabadság’s front page editorial . The left wing daily notes that the students who called the police were not acting irresponsibly, bearing in mind that in 2009 a university student at Pécs opened fire and killed a colleague and injured another three.

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