Government to hold October 23 celebration in front of House of Terror, opposition demo cancelled

October 17, 2017

Government to hold October 23 celebration in front of House of Terror, opposition demo cancelled
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on October 23, 2016. Photo: Facebook/Orbán Viktor

A video appearing on the Hungarian government’s official Facebook page invites the public to an official event commemorating the 1956 Hungarian revolution at 3 pm on October 23 at the House of Terror Museum in Budapest. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will give a speech at the event.

The video’s narrator says, “There are things that never change because they can’t change. We Hungarians are the people of freedom. We believe in our rightness, and we fight for it. We fought in 1956 too. Let’s remember together the heroes of the revolution on October 23 at the House of Terror.”

October 23 is perhaps Hungary’s most politicized national holiday, commemorating the anti-Soviet uprising of 1956 that was initially successful but later crushed by the Red Army. Orbán’s October 23 speech in 2016, delivered on Kossuth Square in front of Parliament, was disrupted by hundreds of protesters blowing whistles and horns, resulting in minor acts of violence against the demonstrators by Orbán supporters.

A joint demonstration of all Hungary’s opposition parties and several civic organizations, excluding far-right Jobbik, was planned for the October 23 holiday under the organization of the Common Country Movement (Közös Ország Mozgalom), but several of the participating parties pulled out and the event’s organizer Márton Gulyás announced the cancellation of the joint action. October 23 is also the deadline set by Gulyás for the National Assembly to adopt election reform and, if it fails to do so, he has promised acts of civil disobedience. Gulyás along with eight opposition parties drafted a joint proposal on election reform in late September, which is to be submitted to the National Assembly.