In under a month the police have demolished the Country Assembly Movement’s (OGYM) protest camp in front of parliament on six different occasions. This time, however, the movement leaders did not cooperate, leaving police no choice other than to forcibly remove them from the Kossuth square. Fortunately, they did so in a professional manner that was highly respectful of the protesters.
A video of the events can be viewed here.
Preparations on the part of OGYM to have their protest camp struck for the sixth time in under a month proceded in the customary fashion. However, this time OGYM leader Gábor “Taureg” Szabó insisted that everyone strictly act in accordance with his wishes.
He said they had decided this time not to cooperate with the authorities but rather to have themselves “removed’ by the police, because “today the governing power has stepped over the line.” He said the only reason behind the decision to remove the camp was so that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and President János Áder could christen the statue of famous Hungarian revolutionary leader Lajos Kossuth. Szabó said the decision to subordinate the right of assembly to the right of the head of government and the head of state to christen a statue meant that a dictatorship was unfolding in Hungary.
“From this time forward it means that the Prime Minister has more rights than the Constitution, that from this time on there is dictatorship in Hungary,” he said. They would not submit to this and would employ passive resistance.
Shortly after 3 am, law enforcement officers from the Budapest head police magistrate’s office (BRFK) brought an order issued by the head of the Center for Counter-Terrorism (TEK), János Hajdu. According to Szabó the order made reference neither to demolishing the camp nor emptying the square. Furthermore, it was carried out by BRFK despite, in Szabó’s opinion, the Budapest police not falling under TEK’s jurisdiction in such matters.
Szabó informed the police that their actions constituted an even greater violation of the constitution than previous actions, since this time “they were defending a non-existing right with regard to the right of Hungarian citizens to assemble”. The OGYM head said nobody had the right to limit a demonstration in this manner, “not even the Prime Minister”, and called their attention to the fact that the police have the right to refuse to carry out orders they know are in violation of the constitution.
In response to Szabó’s objections, the police repeatedly answered that the officers were not there to do anything outside the scope of orders issued by TEK with regard to protecting individuals and buildings. At that point the police informed Szabó and his followers that the square had been officially closed and instructed them to vacate it.
To this Szabó responded “in no way will we submit to this action. We are continuing the protest.”
At this point the police left to deliberate. Meanwhile police formed a cordon around the square.
Szabó denounced as a “most distasteful event” the fact that the government was forcing “people who are existentially dependent” (i.e. the police) to “unlawfully and unconstitutionally enforce orders leaning towards criminality.”
Shortly after 4 am around 30 members of the so-called Standby Police arrived to start physically removing the protesters from the two tents.
The police announced that those refusing to follow orders were breaking the law and repeatedly ordered everyone to leave the the square. Every time the protesters answered that it was their constitutional right to remain. After that the police compelled the protesters to leave in a non-violent, respectful manner, many of the police appearing to sympathize with the protesters. Szabó refused to leave on his own two feet and had to be carried away by police.
On the corner of Kossuth square police checked people’s documents. In the end they let everyone go. Meanwhile, they started demolishing the tents. Szabó told the police that they were demonstrating for them as well, so that one day they wouldn’t have to enforce such orders.