Update: April 18, 15:25
Gergő Komáromy and Csongor Kiripolszky have each beem fined HUF 30,000 (USD 102) for throwing water-soluble paint balloons at a memorial statue in Budapest’s Szabadság square on Monday. Each fine was reduced by HUF 4,000 for the night the two defendants spent in jail awaiting their trial. In the decision, the judge declared that the activists’ actions could not be qualified as public expression of opinion since it was not clear whether they were motivated by expressing their political opinions or by simple vandalism, since there was no political protest on Monday at Szabadság square.
The two activists appeared before a judge in an accelerated legal proceeding after allegedly throwing orange water-soluble paint at the monument to the Soviet liberation of Hungary, 444.hu reports.
Gergő Komáromy (above, right), more commonly known as “G Ras,” and friend Csongor Kiripolszky (above, left) live-streamed themselves throwing paint at the controversial monument on Monday afternoon. The two said they had engaged in the act out of protest to increasing Russian influence in Hungary. After wrapping up their act of political protest, they were arrested and accused of disorderly conduct.
Easter Monday in Hungary is traditionally celebrated by reciting a poem to women and spraying them with perfume. In keeping with the tradition, G Ras and Kiripolszky recited rhymes while lobbing paint at the monument.
This latest act of paint-protest came after activists Márton Gulyás and Gergő Varga were detained for three days and subjected to what many have called a show-trial for attempting to throw water-soluble paint at Sándor Palace, the official residence of the President of Hungary, János Áder, after Áder signed Lex CEU (Central European Unversity) into law. Gulyás and Varga were sentenced to 300 and 200 hours of community service, respectively.
At the start of their trial, G Ras and Kiripolszky claimed they had tested the paint to make sure it was easily removed before pouring it into balloons and lobbing them at the monument. In total, the two activists threw 8 water-soluble paint-filled balloons at the monument to Hungary’s Soviet liberators.
G Ras and Kiripolszky were brought into court handcuffed and on leashes held by police officers, just as were Gulyás and Varga for their own trial last week.
G Ras became a well-known activist last year when he and dozens of other protesters occupied Budapest City Park in an effort to obstruct the government’s development of a museum district on the park’s grounds.
He famously performed his hit “Hasta La Vista, Mista Prime Minista” for members of the press at one of the city park demonstrations.
Later, as construction crews and private security guards tried to remove activists from the park’s Transportation Museum, which activists had occupied, a private security guard was recorded punching G Ras in the stomach. Charges were later filed against the security guard.
On Saturday, G Ras was one of the performers at the anti-government “We will not stay quiet!” protest in Szabadság (Freedom) square.