Hungarian authorities physically assault the homeless in Budapest

In Hungary, it’s not actually the police that are tasked with brutality, but rather private security firms hired by local governments or national institutes and ministries. I witnessed this first hand in 2016 (and I reported on this phenomenon in HFP at the time). This week we learned that the practice of outsourcing police brutality to the private sector is continuing in Hungary. According to an investigative report on the 24.hu news site, agents of a private security firm hired by the Fidesz-led municipal government of Csepel, a suburb of Budapest, are engaged in the practice of physically assaulting homeless people. Zoltán leads the three-person brigade in Csepel against the homeless and speaking to 24.hu, he said:

“Once I wanted to be a Franciscan monk, I wanted to sacrifice my whole life. You may not see it, but I believe in love and solidarity. And in the past, I felt the same way about the homeless as you do, or as the liberals do. I pitied them and wanted to help them. And today? I would run them all through a grinder.”

Zoltán and his small team are following orders. They were told that their task is to “pester” the homeless. In Hungarian, the specific word is “vegzálás.”

When the reporter asked Zoltán whether he considered the homeless around the HÉV (suburban rail) station in Csepel to be humans too, he responded:

“These ones? They are zombies. Do you know who are humans in my mind? People who can scrape themselves out of their own shit.”

When 24.hu used the exact same word (pester) that Zoltán and his team used to describe their task, they accused the reporter of writing a “liberal article.”

Security hired by Csepel. Photo: 24.hu / János Marjai.

According to a woman called Eszter interviewed by the reporter, she was asked to stop sitting in the area near the suburban railway station, as she and her partner, László, had been there for a period of time. When Eszter told the security guard that she had a right to be there, the man came up close to her face and threateningly told her to leave. László also noted that an elderly man he knew had been kicked in the face by one of these guards and that there were multiple witnesses to this violence. The victim had to get multiple stitches after the incident.

When the reporter asked one of the guards if he understands that people are scared of him, he responded:

“They should be scared! That is the goal. You don’t need to be soft with them…”

When asked about the allegations of physical assault against the homeless, Zoltán does not deny that this may have taken place. He tries to explain it as self-defense or as a preemptive reaction out of fear that the homeless person may become violent or might have a weapon.

“How do you know what he may take out of his pocket? This is a circle of criminals. That is how you have to see them…”

Dehumanization is a quintessential characteristic of the Orbán regime. Outsourcing violence to private companies contracted by the state is another. Sándor Rónai, spokesperson for the Democratic Coalition, confirmed that his party filed a police report after reading 24.hu’s piece about systematic assault against the homeless. The chances of a police investigation resulting in any consequences for those committing violence on behalf of the state are nil.

12 Comments

  1. This is the ugly face of neo-Fascist Orbanistan, the corrupt little fiefdom run by the man Steven Bannon, the white-supremacist alt-right, the head of the Ku Klux Klan, the Turkish Erdogan, the butcher of Saudi Arabia, Putin and Donald Trump idolize. This is the future that awaits all those, who are enabling the trash-talking, self-serving criminals to run our lives.

  2. There is NO ACLU and APLC, but why the “opposition” is only just enjoy this and using it as propaganda, while would not file a lawsuit for
    violating the civil rights of those citizens ???

    Do something good for others, do not just talk !

    • why “would not file a lawsuit for violating the civil rights of those citizens” do you know Péter Polt, he will do nothing, when you like to file a lawsuit.

  3. StrandedinSopron says:

    “in Hungary, it’s not actually the police that are tasked with brutality, but rather private security firms hired by local governments or national institutes and ministries”

    Well, actually, in Budapest the dirty work has been “outsourced” to many of the football ultra hooligan gangs operating loosely under the cover of “private security” groups. These guys, particularly the neo-nazi element following Ferencvaros (owner *shady* Fidesz MP Gábor Kubatov), are particularly vicious when the odds are stacked in their favour. In other words, like “Zoltan”, brave lads when beating up defenceless elderly homeless or the eco-teenagers trying to protect their Varosliget from the Fidesz landgrab

  4. DON;

    OK , file a lawsuit against Peter Polt !!!!

    Like the saying goes; “Put your money where your mouth is” !!!!

    Do not the so called “opposition” have enough lawyers and money to do just that ???

    They are likely too f…… lazy, only do big mouthing !

    • „OK , file a lawsuit against Peter Polt“ bende I have the feeling you didn´t understand. We are living in a Dictatorship … and which Opposition?

  5. Has anyone of the bloggers or Mr. Adam seen any of these assaults? With all the cell phones and cameras, it is unbelievable that no proof was shown. We, skeptics, like to see proof before condemning anyone.

    • Who is we? If you live in Hungary you can proof it by your own. If you live in America, which proof do you need, a photo a letter or Mr. Polt?

  6. Just which allegation may be correct Mr author .
    The “authorities” assault the street-people and the homeless, or the article, that they outsource that job to “privte-contractors”, simply the street thugs ???

    • Bende, the street-people and the homeles … ? … who is the street-people? Bende, if a football hooligan with 120 kg of muscle is in front of you and wants something from you, then that’s the authority, unless you bring 140 kg of muscle mass on the scales.

  7. Don;
    Ask Chris Adam, he denied two of my reply to your question !

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