Tag Archives: Hungary

( On the 19th January 2013, homeless activists and their allies squatted an empty building in the 7th district of Budapest. The squatters demanded the institutionalization of a right to housing and an extensive system of social housing instead of punitive measures and overcrowded shelters. The activists were arrested and now face misdemeanor charges because of disobeying police instructions.

“We do not leave until the government and local authorities do not take seriously mass homelessness and housing poverty” – said Jenő Keresztes, one of the homeless squatters. “We are here to raise awareness about the tens of thousands of empty buildings, where homeless people could find their home. The majority of these empty buildings are in private hands, but local authorities also have great responsibility in leaving buildings such as this one unused for years. Instead of taking care of them, they leave them to dilapidate. This building alone could serve as a home for at least 10 families – said Jutka Lakatosné, another homeless activist.

The squatters were supported by dozens of young activists forming a living chain at the entrance of the building as well as an ever-growing group of protesters on the other side of the street. The supporters were chanting slogans such as “Housing, not jails” and “Right to housing for all!”. The head of the local authority’s real estate office agency visited the house and told the protestors that the local authority has no responsibility whatsoever either about homelessness or about the abandonment of the house. Five hours later the police arrived in great numbers and arrested one by one the activists blocking the entrance of the building. The activists did not cooperate and therefore were carried by the police to the police cars. The supporting protesters first were chanting “We are with you” right by the activists. Later, the police pushed them back where they could not see the arrests anymore – but they stayed until the last one of the activists were taken away from the location and supported them with loud drumming and chanting.

“I do not have housing worthy of human dignity either, I am just temporarily allowed to stay in an otherwise empty building which does not have heating. Nonetheless I do not fight for myself alone: we would like everyone to have access to decent, affordable and healthy housing, and we want the government and the local authorities to take responsibility for this” – said László Dombovári homeless activist. In Hungary there are currently millions of people suffering from various forms of housing poverty. 10 thousand of them are living in the public spaces or shelters of Budapest. Around half million families has arrears that threaten their housing, and every fifth household gets behind with their mortgage payments due to lack of resources.

The City is for All supports the demands of the homeless activists. We have organized several marches to raise awareness about empty buildings and demand their utilization, spelled out our related policy recommendations, and protested for the codification of a right to housing and the establishment of an extensive system of social housing. According to The City is for All, the implementation of a right to housing should include a ban on evictions without the provision of acceptable housing alternative as well as housing policies that ensure access to decent housing for everyone. Right to housing would not mean the provision of free housing by the state, but that the state establishes and maintains a system of housing policies that ensure fair access to housing for all members of the society.


( In a successful and well coordinated effort, 17 neo-Nazi websites based in Hungary were hacked and defaced by the international Internet hacktivist collective known as Anonymous.

The action, taken Monday, June 18, is part of Operation Blitzkrieg (#OpBlitzkrieg). (…)

Operation Blitzkrieg was initially conceived and launched in May 2011. The following is an excerpt taken from a press release announcing Operation Blitzkrieg:


Your incomprehensible actions, and your reluctance to accept the Freedom and Equality that every single human being possesses by right from birth, causes the birth to hatred and worldwide Racism.

After the first World War, your ideology plunged the world into chaos. You took over a plague, known as anti-Semitism, and made sure that racism was drilled into our collective consciousness…

Your misdirected politics and your hate filled crusade against humanity have not only blurred your perception, but also affected countries worldwide… You have combined the ideals of industrialization with the abomination of mass murder, a circumstance that led to destruction of human life, in a scale never seen before…

This behaviour can no longer be tolerated…

We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not Forgive.
We do not Forget.
Expect Us.

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(The Contrarian Hungarian) Earlier during the life of this blog, I tried to report about every grass-root action organized by the Hungarian civil sphere. But the time I would have had to have available to keep at this task was rising exponentially, and the change of pace was noticeable even over shorter periods: what used to be outrageous in Hungarian news in September and October, by December was a standardly recurring event. For example, in September I had time to describe in great length the story of how the photographers of Index, Origo, and Blikk were banned from the Parliament. The same journalists have been banned from reporting from the parliament several times since then; perhaps they themselves are the only ones who know the precise number of the bagatelle incidents that got them banned from documenting the work of the Parliament. Just this December, I wrote a post about the manipulation of the news on the Hungarian public media. Since then, three more instances of manipulated or falsified news footage appeared on public television (there are three I am aware of, I may have missed other cases). This is  a standard weapon in the psychological warfare employed by the Hungarian government against its own people: when they do things so outrageous that it is unbelievable, they repeat the act until it becomes all too believable.

But the Hungarian protester is a similarly methodically persistent kind: they are on the street to show that it is not in their name this government rules on every single occasion that the situation changes for the worse. They are not too tired to show up every time their government breeches against the norms of democracy, human decency and common sense. As the first three protests of December went by, and news of others in the making were received, I thought perhaps what needs to be shown about these protests is not their size, or their energy, but even more importantly the consistency with which they express dissent – and the consistency on the part of the government as well to simply ignore not only its political opposition in parliament, but the civilian movements that had sprung up against it as well. The protests taking place in December in Hungary are really best presented in their pattern of recurrence: as the repeated efforts at civilian resistance to the egregious acts of its government. Here is, then, the list of actions organized by the Hungarian civilian sphere during the month of December: …

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Live feed from the ongoing protest @ the Opera House:

( Security guards in Hungary have failed to remove a group of hunger strikers from the main entrance of the MTV state television building.

Five demonstrators, including two MTV employees, have been on hunger strike since 10 December. They say there has been gross interference by pro-government editors in their work.

They have been living on tea and soup, but no solid food.

The protest is part of a wider row about the government’s media policy.

This week the two MTV employees, Balazs Nagy Navarro and Aranka Szavuly, were fired by the organisation.

Before dawn on Thursday, the security guards tried to move the encampment, which consists of a tent, chairs and banners.

Supporters, including deputies from the opposition Socialist party, arrived and a verbal agreement was finally brokered with TV chiefs. The protest camp has moved a few metres to one side, to ensure a safe exit from the building in case of an emergency.

“We will stay here until our demands are met,” Balazs Nagy Navarro told the BBC in the capital Budapest.

The demands include the sacking of five TV editors who the strikers accuse of political interference in daily news programmes.

One of the editors, Gabor Elo, was sacked before Christmas. He was blamed for an incident on 3 December when the face of a former head of the Supreme Court, Zoltan Lomnici, was edited out of a news report.

“We welcome Gabor Elo’s departure, but insist the others leave too,” said Mr Navarro.

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(A Város Mindenkié) Around 30 citizens protested against a new law that would criminalize homelessness in Hungary by punishing “residing in public spaces” with a fine of several hudred euros or jai. On november 11, 2011, the protestors staged a sit-in at the office if the ruling party’s “rapporteur on the homeless” demanding tha he immediately repeal the law.

( BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Tens of thousands of protesters have attended a rally expressing their opposition to the policies of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Speakers from several civic groups, united by the “I don’t like the regime” motto, condemned a wide range of government measures, from restrictive media polices to changes in the tax system hurting the poor.

Balazs Denes, head of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, said the weak opposition parties in parliament, up against Orban’s two-thirds majority, were also responsible for the problems affecting Hungarian democracy.

A spokesman said Hungary’s “alternative president” will be elected at the next rally on March 15.

Sunday’s demonstration was held on the 55th anniversary of Hungary’s 1956 revolution against Soviet rule.


Demonstrators hold a poster depicting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban looking like Matyas Rakosi, communist era dictator of the 50s during an anti-government demonstration in Budapest, Hungary, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011. Tens of thousands of Hungarians gathered to protest against Orban’s government at the 55th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian revolution. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky) (Credit: AP)

(economist) They don’t like the system

OCTOBER 23rd is a resonant date for Hungarians. Fifty-five years ago the failed anti-Soviet uprising began when teenage street fighters starting lobbing Molotov cocktails at Russian tanks. The revolution was crushed by the Soviets, but remains seared into the country’s collective consciousness.

The young, middle-aged and elderly protestors at yesterday’s demonstration in Budapest hoped to capture the spirit of 1956. Tens of thousands of them marched under the banner of Nem tetszik a rendszer? (“You don’t like the system?”). See video footage here.

Organised by a Facebook group, the protest was peaceful, good-humoured and crackling with energy, despite the rain and winds. The crowds stretched from the Elizabeth Bridge into the heart of the city, and probably exceeded the numbers at the first such mass protest in March this year.

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