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Rival narratives of provocation and violence

July 8th, 2017

As the government and the opposition side trade accusations about alleged plans to provoke violence, a pro-government and a centrist commentator ponder the likelihood of a violent autumn.

On Wednesday, House Speaker László Kövér reiterated his view (see BudaPost June 6) that NGOs backed by George Soros would start a series of riots to disturb public order and undermine democratic institutions. On Thurday, the MSZP and the Democratic Coalition in a press release suggested that the governing party wants to provoke violence to “set Budapest on fire” and called on the police to resist government pressure. Fidesz in a rejoinder dismissed the accusations. The party suggested that it is not the government, but NGOs funded by George Soros who have announced plans to launch a civil disobedience movement ‘in order to pressure the government to take in more migrants’.

In Magyar Idők, György Pilhál recalls a recent conference organised by the Eötvös Károly Institute on the government’s recent NGO law. Bálint Misetics, a left-wing activist involved in the 2013 protests at the Fidesz headquarters (see BudaPost March 11, 2013) praised civil disobedience as a legitimate means of defending basic rights. Pilhál speculates that the conference is another proof that “Soros NGOs” are planning to occupy government buildings in the autumn.

Magyar Nemzet’s Albert Gazda finds both the government’s and the opposition’s claims implausible. The centrist commentator notes that the government has not in any way limited anti-government protests, and it is unlikely to do so in the future. Gazda contends that the both Left and Right use fear-mongering in order to mobilize their voters and further polarise the public without intending to resort to anything more than the current, strictly verbal violence.

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