Tag Archives: physical violence

Who is planning physical violence on the streets of Budapest?

In the last few days more and more political observers have become aware of Fidesz politicians’ frequent references to the violent disturbances that will take place on the streets of Budapest in the coming months. The weak and desperate opposition, encouraged by the foreign enemies of the present government, will forcibly turn against the democratically elected Orbán government, they claim.

The fact is that Fidesz’s forecast of such an eventuality is not new. Already in March of this year three important government politicians, within a few days of one another, predicted a “brutal election campaign” accompanied by possible physical force.

On March 24, 2017, Zsolt Semjén (KDNP), deputy prime minister, was the first to speak of such a possibility in an interview he gave to Magyar Idők. What will make the election “brutal,” he said, is the fact that the opposition will be fighting for their “sheer survival,” and in their “desperation” they will be ready for anything. This will especially be the case if “there is someone abroad” who will give them a blank check and munition. Under these circumstances, Fidesz’s campaign slogan should be: “We must defend the country.”

A few days later László Kövér (Fidesz), president of the parliament, talked about street disturbances instigated by George Soros himself. Kövér envisaged “an undisguised coalition, which might be established between the Hungarian opposition and the Soros organizations with the aim of fomenting attacks against the institutional system of democracy before the elections.” The dirty work will be done by activists of the Soros-financed organizations. “They will try to create a civil-war-like atmosphere.”

The next day János Lázár (Fidesz), chief of staff, picked up the thread and called attention to the forthcoming election campaign that will be more brutal than any in the last 30 years. More recently, Antal Rogán (Fidesz), propaganda minister, frightened his audience by describing dreadful scenes that will take place on the streets of Budapest.

The charge that Fidesz would face a “brutal campaign” became more intense as time went by. Now, it seems, defensive measures are underway. The latest piece of news is that László Földi, a high-ranking intelligence officer in the Kádár regime, has been hired by István Tarlós, mayor of Budapest, to be his “security adviser.” Földi remained in the intelligence apparatus until 1996, when he was removed from his post by the Horn government because Földi and his men had a strange notion of “intelligence work.” They were watching and reporting on MSZP politicians. Földi is a devoted supporter of the Fidesz government, which uses him as a “national security expert.” I don’t think I’m alone in regarding Földi as raving mad. Unfortunately he spreads his outlandish interpretation of world affairs in the government-sponsored media. I devoted a post to him about a year and a half ago. There I expressed my suspicion that Földi may work for the Orbán government behind the scenes. This suspicion was reinforced by the news of Földi’s association with Tarlós.

I must say that I was stunned to find Földi in the city hall of Budapest, because although I have a low opinion of Tarlós, I didn’t think he was so naïve and gullible that he would listen to a man who is clearly a lunatic. But then, I remembered Tarlós expounding on the block that was masterfully crafted to fit the door of the Russian-made metro car in order to create public dissatisfaction. It was Földi’s voice talking there. In an interview Földi gave to Demokrata a few days ago, he expounded on “a new political style” developed by the opposition, which “will create chaos by attacking the city’s infrastructure,” as, for example, in case of the metro cars. But there will be other problems cropping up in the future, like in the water and gas supply or in garbage collection. The opposition will take advantage of these small problems to turn the population against the government.

In the fall, when the trouble starts, Földi said, the government must be resolute and the powers-that-be mustn’t retreat. Földi noticed that there were many foreigners among the demonstrators who went out on the streets during the spring and early summer. These are paid troublemakers who go from city to city all over Europe to create chaos. Behind them is the “clandestine power” Viktor Orbán and others talk about. But if you think that it is George Soros who is at the apex of this hidden power structure, you are wrong. According to Földi, he is just “the delivery boy.” The real decisions are made by hidden groups for whom his open society is only an instrument, not the goal. Budapest must be ready for this onslaught, and the police must act firmly. Tarlós seems to fall for Földi’s scenario, as was evident during his press conference after the transit authorities’ e-ticket disaster.

“Peaceful demonstrators” in October 2006

All in all, something is going on in the heads of Fidesz politicians and their “advisers.” Mátyás Eörsi, a former SZDSZ politician with many years in the Hungarian parliament, wrote a lengthier post on the subject on his Facebook page. In his experience, Fidesz talks about its “own sins” quite openly but with great finesse. Whatever they have done in the past or plan to do in the future appears in their parliamentary speeches as accusations directed at their opponents. It is a devilishly clever strategy because the opposition is immediately forced into a defensive posture. Those of us who follow Hungarian events know that the current Hungarian opposition has no intention of wreaking havoc on the streets of Budapest. So, based on Eörsi’s past experiences, he thinks it likely that Fidesz itself plans to provoke disturbances, which would be a bonanza for the Orbán government.

In addition, Eörsi makes another important observation. Let me quote him: “For me, the words of Kövér and Rogán about riots on the streets are the clearest proof of the true story of what happened in Budapest between 2006 and 2008. If anyone, it is the leaders of Fidesz who know exactly who stood where and what party interests were behind the street riots. Fidesz, when accusing others of organizing riots, is actually making a confession. From the words of Kövér and Rogán we can understand who generated the street disturbances in Budapest between 2006 and 2008.”

September 4, 2017

“Border hunters” join soldiers and policemen at the Serbian-Hungarian border

It was about a month and a half ago that I wrote two posts dealing with the abominable circumstances along the Serbian-Hungarian border where hundreds of refugees wait for admittance into Hungary but authorities process only fifteen people a day. The authorities could easily handle ten times that number, but they purposely slow the process to discourage those waiting on the other side of the fence. In addition, a new directive now allows Hungarian soldiers and policemen to catch and forcibly remove anyone who gets through the fence illegally and is found within eight kilometers of the border. This government order can easily lead to violence.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a detailed description of the alleged abuses at the Serbian-Hungarian border. The organization found that “people who cross into Hungary without permission, including women and children, have been viciously beaten and forced back across the border.” A few days later Nick Thorpe of BBC paid a visit to the area and confirmed the findings of HRW. What followed these reports was a furious denial by the Hungarian authorities of any and all wrongdoing.

Given the bad publicity, one would have thought that the ministry of defense and the ministry of the interior would make sure that soldiers and policemen along the border would be extra careful and would handle the deportation procedures without any unnecessary violence. But, according to an Afghan refugee, this is what happens if a refugee is caught by an officer. “First, they use pepper spray, after which they beat him, handcuff him, and then they let the dogs loose on him. After all this he will be taken back to Serbia.” And, he added, “Only God can help us!” A Syrian man drowned, even though he was a strong swimmer, when Hungarian soldiers or policemen attacked him and his companions with pepper spray and rocks. The Hungarian authorities are allegedly investigating this case. Most of the refugees who complained got nowhere. The Hungarian police didn’t think they had a case.

Medical urgency. The young man almost died.

Medical emergency. The young man almost died.

Yesterday, for the first time, Károly Papp, the national police chief, admitted that there have been several instances in which policemen mistreated refugees. In fact, criminal proceedings have been launched in four cases. We’ll see what happens. I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Meanwhile the Hungarian government decided that the Serbian-Hungarian border defense must be reinforced, and so it launched a campaign to recruit an additional 3,000 men and women. These people will constitute a special unit within the police force, specifically trained for duty along the border. They will be called “határvadászok” (border hunters) instead of “rendőrök” (policemen).

During the Rákosi and Kádár periods, when the borders were hermetically sealed, the military had a separate unit whose members were called “határőrök” (border guards). This special military force ceased to exist with the arrival of democracy and open borders. For years, however, the extreme right political party Jobbik has been demanding the re-creation of this force, which up until now the Orbán government has resisted. Finally, pressured by the flood of refugees whom they want to keep out of Hungary, the government obliged.

Naming these new border guards “border hunters” is significant. A guard is passive until whatever he is guarding is attacked. A hunter actively pursues the game. Orbán’s wordsmiths are exceedingly clever and know how to manipulate the linguistically unsophisticated public.

The reinforcement of the borders has already cost a small fortune, and adding this special unit to the police force will also be very expensive. According to the information provided by Károly Papp, seven units have been trained so far for border duty. Plans call for an additional eight units. That also means enlarging police facilities in several cities, like Budapest, Győr, Szombathely, Debrecen, Szeged, Orosháza, and Kiskunhalas.

The recruiting program is substantial because, I suspect, serving along the border is not exactly a cushy job. I have read horror stories about the primitive circumstances the soldiers and policemen must endure. The government’s hope is that unemployed white collar workers and those who are currently employed as public workers will be willing to become hunters. It seems that by now the police force is ready to hire even those who had been rejected earlier. The training will take six months. By next May an extra 3,000 men and women will be able to serve along the southern border.

All this frantic defense of the country from the refugees is totally senseless because the people who are waiting in Serbia for legal entry or who illegally try to break through the fence have no intention of remaining in Hungary. It is also unlikely that unwilling migrants would be forcibly settled in Hungary. Or, even if there was such a joint decision in Brussels, the numbers Hungary would have to deal with would be small. Moreover, as it stands now, Hungary is letting the few already registered refugees quietly leave the country. Those who until now have been living in closed camps are given a railway ticket and a map to find their way to Körmend, a town close to the Austrian border, from where they disappear across the Austrian border within a couple of days.

But if that is the case, why did the Orbán government insist on sealing Hungary’s southern border? The answer is simple. It is only for domestic political reasons. The overwhelming majority of the population supports Orbán’s migration policy and doesn’t mind the billions spent on the fence or on the manpower to hunt down the refugees. On the contrary, they welcome it. And Viktor Orbán is ready to sacrifice everything, including the reputation of the country and the country’s relationship with the rest of the democratic world, for political gain. Unfortunately, for the time being at least it seems to to be working.

August 25, 2016

Cases of domestic violence in Hungary: November-December 2013

It was about a month and a half ago that I began collecting cases of physical violence as they were reported in the media. In each case the attackers and the attacked knew one another. Often they were related or lived in the same household. I’m not at all sure that I managed to get all the cases. In fact, I’m sure that I didn’t because there were days when I simply didn’t have time to go through the news from the section entitled “bulvár” in Hírkereső, an online news search engine, which also includes police news.

The first case happened on November 13. A thirty-year-old father grabbed a butcher knife and attacked his two daughters, ages 4 and 6, and then used the knife on himself. They ended up in the hospital but survived.

On the very same day HVG reported somewhat belatedly that a teacher in Fonyód, a resort town at Lake Balaton, severely beat up his elderly parents on October 3o. Currently he is in pre-trial detention.

A day later a mother found her dead daughter in the box in which bedding is stored under the sofa. It turned out that the twenty-four-year-old woman was killed by her girlfriend. On the same day I found an item on a site from Heves County which reported an earlier crime, committed back in March. A verbal encounter between a man and a woman who lived under the same roof ended with the woman grabbing a piece of broken window glass and stabbing the man in his abdomen. His condition was critical when he arrived at the hospital, but he survived.

domestic violence4On November 13 a man knifed his female friend and her girlfriend. One of them died on the spot. The next day they found the body of a man who had been missing since October 25 in the canal near Kalocsa. The man’s former girlfriend with the help of her father and her new boyfriend killed him and threw his body in the water.

On November 17 the police found the bodies of a couple in their fifties in Debrecen whose quarrel ended with the man killing his wife and committing suicide. The week before the police finally arrested a man who on December 25, 2012 beat up his wife, dragged her to a nearby railroad line, and placed her body on the rails with a box of medication. Her body was found before the train arrived, but she died of her injuries.

Lake Balaton was a dangerous place in November. In the first case a child called the police because he was afraid for his mother’s safety. By the time the police tracked down the address, the woman had been beaten to a pulp by her husband. She asked the police to keep her husband in temporary custody. On the same day in Karcag “an aggressive man was taken into custody” because he attacked members of his family.

For a week no domestic abuse was reported, but when it came it was an ugly one. For years a man and a woman kept their three children in unimaginable circumstances. The regularly beat them, starved them, and made them eat their own feces. Their teachers knew about the case, even reported it to the authorities, but it took three years for the police to take action.

On November 26 it was reported that a sixty-year-old woman from Gyula died of injuries inflicted by her son. She didn’t even make it to the hospital. Meanwhile in Szeged three siblings starved their mother for months and refused her medical care. She died due to neglect and malnutrition. Two days later in Fertőrákos the police tried to quiet a man who threatened to blow up his house. Prior to this outburst he beat up his wife who left him earlier.

On November 28 a forty-year-old man in Gyula beat and subsequently strangled his sixty-year-old mother. On November 29 HVG reported an earlier crime. In December 2012 a fifty-four-year-old woman strangled her drunk partner in Budapest’s District XVIII. Subsequently she cut off his extremities which she hid in a plastic bag which then was placed in a garbage container. His body ended up in the box under the sofa.

There was a quarrel in Decs between a twenty-four-old woman and a thirty-four-year old man. The woman escaped and hid in the courtyard of a house, but he followed her. A young man came to her rescue. He ended up with serious injuries inflicted with a shovel. On December 2 a man from Kazincbarcika received a jail sentence of twenty years; he beat his lover to death in June 2011.

The next news came from Szekszárd. It was about a couple who had been living together for thirteen years. They both drank too much. On July 12 the man went off to work early and apparently drank throughout the day. When he got home he demanded dinner, which she refused to prepare. Then came a 13 cm long knife. He inflicted a life threatening wound. The woman had to be operated on.

A day later, on December 3, the police arrested a man who had escaped to Romania after he killed his former girlfriend. He originally came from Romania but was a Hungarian citizen. The crime was committed in Debrecen. Meanwhile in Kecskemét a man locked up his partner in the apartment, beat her, and forced her to have sex with other men. The woman escaped, the man was arrested.

On December 5, a thirty-nine-year-old man from Csobád in Borsod County knifed his visiting sister. The victim was taken to the hospital in a life-threatening condition. On the same day it was discovered that a woman who gave birth to a premature baby and found herself pregnant again became so depressed and agitated that she threw the baby around and shook her so violently that she inflicted permanent brain damage.

Meanwhile in Paks a forty-one-year-old man who had a history of violence against his wife was after her again, although she had moved out of their house and moved in with his sister. He followed her with two knives in hand. He turned against his wife and sister-in-law. Both received serious injuries. According to the Hungarian Criminal Code, he might receive a minimum of ten or a maximum of twenty years in jail.

On December 7 a father in Füzesabony attacked his six-year-old son who died of his wounds. He then turned against himself, but he made only a couple of superficial cuts. A man in Pécs killed his divorced wife. He used a 15 cm. knife with which he stabbed her 106 times. She died on the spot.

In Tolna County a family gathering ended up in a quarrel between father and son. The father attacked the son with a hammer, which the son managed to get and eventually used against the father. Both ended up in the hospital, the father in serious condition.

On December 23 a Bács-Kiskun online site reported an older case according to which a man from Izsák strangled his eighty-four-year-old mother on August 7. On the same day in Nikla, Somogy County, a thirty-one-year-old woman was so severely beaten by her partner that she died on the spot. The partner escaped but later gave himself up. A day later I read about a man from Győr who after he was released from prison terrorized his wife, threatened to kill her, their four-year-old daughter, and his stepson. He wouldn’t let her out of the house, took away her telephone so she couldn’t call for assistance, beat the children, and the wife. Eventually the case ended up with the police. The last piece of news is from Christmas Eve. Hír24 reported about a man who brutally beat his wife and sewed up her mouth.

I’m pretty sure I missed several equally horrendous stories. Hungarian society is becoming increasingly violent. I read a couple of days ago that a bus driver who enforces the rule that passengers can enter the bus only through the front door receives incredible verbal abuse from people who either have no valid tickets or refuse to buy one or who are simply angry that they have restricted entrance. People have screamed at him: “I will kill you!” Or “I wish you weren’t born!” Or “You should drop dead!”

But what can we expect from people of a country where the president of the parliament, László Kövér, said yesterday on Echo TV: “… the very fact that there is a growth called Ferenc Gyurcsány in politics, about which one must speak only because it is such a scandal that he is still with us. His presence is a purulent wound on the body of democracy.” Shall I say more?