Police started proceedings against members of the Hungarian Two-tailed Dog Party (Magyar Kétfarkú Kutya Párt, MKKP) for painting rundown pavements of Budapest with bright colors.
Activists of the party have been decorating pavements in the city for weeks, using bright colors to cheer people up and to attract attention to the terrible state of city roads. Colorful pavements have sprung up in the 8th district and near Astoria. But when members of MKKP started their action in Dob utca in the 7th district, something unexpected happened.
According to the Facebook page of the party, policemen appeared at the scene after nearby residents complained.
“The policemen were very friendly, told us they could do better things than disturbing us, but as this was a residential complaint they were obliged to come,” MKKP wrote. “After one and a half hours of phone calls, they decided they would not start proceedings.”
Since police told the activists that a second complaint would mean they would have to take them to the station, they decided to go home for the day. Still, a few hours later, plain-clothes detectives appeared at the scene and started looking for witnesses in nearby bars. Crime scene investigators were also called to take samples of the paint. It soon turned out that, despite their previous promise, police started proceedings because of vandalism.
The Hungarian Helsinki Committee (Magyar Helsinki Bizottság) offered legal help to MKKP. In their statement, they claimed painting pavements can by no means be against the law.
“Committing vandalism requires damaging someone else’s property. Painting broken pavements does not hurt anybody: it does not damage the concrete or hinder its functions,” they added.