History as farce

European Politics, Politics

Budapest riot police, 2007I’ve given up on chasing after the riots like I used to (texts, photos), but the national holidays and commemorations which they unvariably adorn here in Hungary still have an eerie quality. Living downtown, you have the sound of the choppers hovering overhead all day and night long — and when you venture out in the evening, the boulevard is cordoned off and a convoy of cop cars and vans filled with riot police sirens past.

A quick glance at the usual breathless minute-by-minute reporting by the right-wing Magyar Nemzet newspaper suggests that an overpowering police presence this time stifled the would-be rioters – a generation yearning to emulate the heroic fights of its grandparents, doomed to imitate them as farce. At what cost they are succeeding is another question.

Update: Police did find “three petrol-fuelled explosive devices with timers attached” in the boot of a passenger car by Budapest’s Western Railway Station.

On the other hand, there was a rare occasion of, let’s say, civic intervention:

A group of 200, most of whom were wearing ski masks covering their faces, moved on to join a World Federation of Hungarians gathering in another part of the city when residents of a nearby building doused them with an unidentified liquid probably water. They responded by throwing rocks at the offending apartments.

That’s a first, I think.



  1. Jo  •  Oct 23, 2008 @6:39 pm

    nimh, I couldn’t get your first link to work, though the rest of them did.

  2. nimh  •  Oct 23, 2008 @9:15 pm

    Hey, thanks for the warning! I’ve corrected the links, they should work now. The “photos” on refers to one of my Flickr sets, the “texts” one goes to old blog posts I made on MySpace.