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Archive for Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Budapest police clash with demonstrators

September 20, 2006

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— Police charged bottle-hurling protesters early today in renewed unrest sparked by the prime minister's leaked admission that his government had repeatedly lied to the public about the health of Hungary's economy.

The clashes involved splinter groups from a larger demonstration of some 10,000 people who gathered for a third night in Kossuth Square, the vast plaza outside the neo-Gothic parliament building.

Dozens in the bigger crowd in the square waved Hungarian flags, and some demonstrators set up tents, signaling they intended to stay at least overnight. Several said they would remain even longer - until the resignation of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany - whose taped comments set off the country's worst violence since its failed anti-Soviet revolution 50 years ago.

Gyurcsany - whose taped comments admitting his government had "lied morning, evening and night" about the economy provoked the fury - said that he intended to weather the storm.

"I'm staying and I'm doing my job. I'm extremely committed to fulfilling my program, fiscal adjustments and reforms," he told The Associated Press. "I know it's very difficult for the people, but it's the only direction for Hungary."

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