Did countrywide road block organizer Zoltán Büki blink or wink when announcing the March 1 action was off?
Political activist Zoltán Büki announced on his Facebook page Wednesday that there will not be any road blocks on March 1. However, he said the government could expect “spontaneous actions.” Believing their fundamental right to protest has been violated, organizers plan to turn to the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg in response to Hungarian authorities banning the countrywide action.
Büki asked those planning to block roads or slow down traffic in an informal manner to notify the police “at least some minutes before the event” in order to avoid being fined. He said that if the police order demonstrators on location to stop their activity, after the third warning it would be “worthwhile” to satisfy this request. He notes that “a lot of police are needed for a crowd consisting of several hundred people,” and thus “it is worthwhile waiting for a lot of police to arrive” as “two or three police are not opponents.”
Although clearly the organizer is not opposed to spontaneous actions and, in fact, said earlier that he was certain they would take place, he particularly requested those wishing to protest not to try and close high-speed roads, warning that “if someone is planning to close a main road, they should only do it in a place where there is a traffic lamp.” Büki believes the most important thing is that ”nobody head into or block opposing traffic.”
Many responded to the Facebook post with comments expressing their disappointment. One frustrated supporter wrote “back in the day the taxi drivers did not worry about permits, and did not belittle themselves like some Pekinese dog before the police, but did what they had to do.” Another asked the organizer whether he planned to return the money he had received from supporters.
However, in addition to disappointment and anger, there were those who called for calm and asked for everyone to wait for “the sign”, and “to go when called,” claiming Büki only mistakenly wrote that nothing will come of the action.
Earlier the Budapest court upheld a police decision banning the planned road blockages in the city, and for this reason it is not possible to officially hold the demonstration. Büki wrote that “we would like to have lawfully held the demonstration, but it just so happened that the Budapest magistrate’s office and the City Court for Work and Government Procedural matters upheld decisions banning the actions”.
The Civil Organization for a Democratic Hungary (Demokratikus Magyarországért Civil Szervezet) will assist with the court action in Strasbourg. They reportedly plan to form a “lawsuit organization” to reimburse those who are fined for demonstrating despite the ban.