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’56 commemorations interrupted by whistling

October 25th, 2016

Commentators see the incidents in front of the Parliament building on the anniversary of the 1956 revolution as signs of a deep division within Hungarian society.

In Népszava, György Sebes laments the state of political rivalries which have now gone beyond purely verbal exchanges. He condemns the pro-government demonstrators who physically attacked whistling protesters during the Prime Minister’s speech and accuses the government side of holding attitudes similar to the Communist regime against which the people revolted 60 years ago. In his final remark, Sebes blames the government for the fact that there is ‘no reason to celebrate’ the anniversary.

In Magyar Nemzet, Szabolcs Szerető condemns those who invited their followers to blow whistles during the official ceremony (without mentioning Together vice chairman Péter Juhász by name). They were responsible, he suggests, for creating an ‘undignified situation’.  He believes nevertheless that throughout the country decent commemorations were held, which goes to show that the deep divisions on the political scene do not faithfully reflect the actual state of society. However, Szerető concludes, the national unity of 1956 was exceptional and today’s Hungarians cannot be reasonably expected to emulate it.

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