Hungary declares day of mourning following Paris terror attacks

Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party has cancelled its congress, scheduled for Sunday, and has instead declared a national day of mourning following the coordinated, ISIS-led terrorist attacks in Paris, which left at least 128 dead in the French capital. As well, the Orbán government has announced new, stricter national border controls and a military presence on the streets of Hungarian cities, following an emergency meeting of the National Security Cabinet in Budapest, early Saturday morning.

“Hungary’s defenses must be increased and we must respond to these monstrous terrorist attacks,” declared Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the meeting.

A photo released by the State News Agency from the early morning emergency meeting of Hungary's National Security Committee's working group. Photo: MTI.

A photo released by the State News Agency from the early morning emergency meeting of Hungary’s National Security Cabinet’s working group. The meeting included  Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Interior Minister Sándor Pintér and national security advisor, György Bakondi. Photo: MTI.

The government announced some key changes as a response to the attacks in Paris. The police presence on the streets of Budapest and other cities, at Hungary’s Liszt Ferenc International Airport and at the nuclear plant in the southern Hungarian town of Paks will be significantly increased. Additionally, military police will appear on the streets of Hungarian cities. Levels of supervision at all Hungarian jails and prisons will be intensified and visitors travelling to Hungary by land or air should expect new border controls and more rigorous inspections.

Mr. Orbán declared on state television a national day of mourning on Sunday, as an expression of solidarity with the French people.

“At the moment, we have no data that would suggest a direct terror threat against Hungary, but this can change at any point. There is no such thing as absolute security, but rather we must create the greatest possible degree of security, depending on the circumstances,” said Prime Minister Orbán on state television.

“Hungary offers its solidarity with France, and Hungarians stand with the French people in these extraordinary hours,” added Mr. Orbán.

Hungary’s largest democratic opposition party, the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) also issued a statement expressing its solidarity with France, following the deadly attacks–the worst violence in the French capital since the Second World War and the deadliest act of terror in Europe since the 2004 Madrid bombings.

“In order to prevent such criminal acts, cooperation among the world’s citizens is needed. Decision makers, regardless of their political or religious views, must act without delay, in order to stop the fanatics and the crazed murderers. The ever increasing battle against terrorism is in our common interest and this is the European Union’s responsibility. It is in everyone’s interest that no single member state find itself alone when faced with this challenge,” said the MSZP in its statement.

Hungary’s former Socialist prime minister, Ferenc Gyurcsány, who now leads the Democratic Coalition (DK) opposition party, wrote an open letter to French President François Hollande, in which he offered his sympathy, and also noted: “It’s almost impossible not to respond to such hatred with hatred. Yet we must attempt to maintain our humanity.”

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