Violence in Budapest on sixtieth anniversary of 1956 as historian assaulted

Historian Krisztián Ungváry was physically assaulted and bloodied by supporters of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in front of Parliament, as the nation remembered the sixtieth anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Mr. Ungváry’s sin was that he, along with hundreds of Hungarians, blew whistles out of protest during Mr. Orbán’s speech. The prominent historian of twentieth century Hungary was punched in the face, but continued to protest the country’s antidemocratic ruler and government, even as blood trickled down from his forehead and eyes. Mr. Ungváry was one of several people physically attacked during Mr. Orbán’s speech.

This is the face of Hungary on October 23rd, 2016.

Historian Krisztián Ungváry was beat up by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's supporters on Sunday.

Historian Krisztián Ungváry was beat up by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s supporters on Sunday.

After the attack, Mr. Ungváry took to Facebook to thank all those who tried their best to protect him during the assault at Mr. Orbán’s rally.

“Nobody will ever frighten me by beating me up. I am open to debate and to admitting my errors. Those who know me are aware of this. What happened today is an example of the black and white way of thinking. Others in the square were hurt much worse than me. I feel for them. I would be surprised if a single pro-government demonstrator happened to be among those who were hurt, but if there are some, then I also have empathy for them”–wrote Mr. Ungváry.

The assault against one of Hungary’s most prominent’s historians was not an isolated example of violence during the Orbán government’s commemorations of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, as photos of assaults published by the news site attest to the fact. The situation got out of control as Mr. Orbán was giving his speech–the prime minister’s words could not be heard at all in most of Kossuth Square due to the yelling, the opposition’s whistling and the fighting that broke out in some quarters. The website noted that the ruling party’s primarily elderly supporters were the most verbally aggressive against those who protested the antidemocratic regime.

In Mr. Orbán speech, the prime minister tried to make light of the hundreds of demonstrators who were blowing whistles as he spoke, quipping that “communism returns sometimes to whistle.” He then declared that the “sovietization” of Brussels and the European Union must be stopped.

For his part, a bloodied Mr. Ungváry referred back to his family’s experiences under communism. “I won’t leave just because someone hits me. One hundred and fifty people died in this square, my grandfather sat in prison for six years, my mother and father were also arrested. What happened to me is nothing compared to this,” said the historian.

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