Hungarian political activists across the country spent much of the weekend defacing or removing controversial billboards on “immigration and terrorism” erected at the national government’s behest last week. The activity is so widespread that undercover police have been ordered to keep watch on the xenophobic billboards.
Activists with opposition party Együtt (Together), András Szeles and Kinga Kalocsa, tore down a billboard in Budapest, cleaned up after themselves, then reported themselves to Budapest’s District VI police.
The two activists explained their actions to the leftist Kettős Mérce blog by saying they feel the billboards inspire hatred.
“[The government’s billboard] campaign inspires hatred toward refugees and tries to make it seem as if refugees want to harm Hungarian society,” they told Kettős Mérce.
When asked why they decided to report their actions to the police, the activists said they are are aware that the act of tearing the billboard is unlawful and they have no intention of trying to evade the consequences.
They said the billboard campaign is so outrageous, discriminative and insensitive that it is not permissible for them to express their dissatisfaction in a lawful manner.
The act of ripping or painting over the hateful billboards has become so popular that even an online map has been created showing their location and whether they have been vandalized yet.
Fidesz MP Szilárd Németh held a press conference Sunday to call on opposition party leaders to “stop these violent actions and return to the customary political dialogue that Fidesz also represents”.
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