Tanks appear on the streets of Budapest following Berlin attack

Many Budapest residents were stunned to see tanks and other armoured vehicles in the streets of the Hungarian capital on Tuesday. The Counter-Terrorism Centre’s (TEK) personnel  were instructed to guard key commercial locations in central Budapest following Monday evening’s terrorist attack on a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany. Hungary’s terror risk remains unchanged at “3”, but Minister of Interior Sándor Pintér ordered police to increase their presence on the busiest streets of the Hungarian capital. It’s certainly not an everyday occurrence that an armed vehicle rolls into Vörösmarty tér, Budapest’s ritzy commercial square. Each December, the square is home to Budapest’s annual Christmas market, with locals and tourists alike sipping malt wine and hot tea.

A tank in downtown Budapest on Tuesday. Photo: MTI.

A tank in Vörösmarty tér, downtown Budapest on Tuesday. Photo: Bálint/444.hu.

Tanks and armed officers have also appeared around Budapest’s main shopping centres, including in front of the Mammut Shopping Mall on the Buda side, near Széna tér. By the early afternoon, a third tank was seen rolling down one of Budapest’s main thoroughfares past the Keleti railway station, en route to the Aréna Pláza mall.

And the Hungarian Telegraphic Office (the main state-owned news agency, abbreviated as MTI) published photos of armed officers patrolling Váci utca and Vörösmarty Square.

János Marjai / MTI.

János Marjai / MTI.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Viktor Orbán wrote to German Chancellor Angela Merkel following Monday’s terrorist attack in Berlin, which claimed at least 12 lives and also injured at least one Hungarian national. “This was a severe attack not only against the people of Berlin, but against all of Europe and against our Christian values,” wrote Mr. Orbán, adding that Hungarian citizens share in the grief of those who lost loved ones in the attack.

As our readers will know, the attack took place in Berlin’s Charlottenburg district, near the bustling Kurfürstendamm boulevard, when a truck deliberately rammed into shoppers at the famous Christmas market. The attack bears a stark resemblance to the one in Nice, France this past summer.

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