A president who lies

Photos weren't available online, but this sentence jumped out at me:

Hungarian Police Clash With Protesters | Chicago Tribune
Protesters set police cars on fire and hurled plaster from nearby buildings at officers following Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany's leaked admission that his government repeatedly lied to the public about the economy.

Could you imagine living in a country where the citizens reacted like this to lies about the economy, or anything else? I am not wishing for quite this level of passion, but somewhere more than the US populace currently displays would be an improvement.

Wednesday's confrontation erupted after the demonstrators threatened to move in on the party building and ignored police orders shouted through bullhorns to disperse, witnesses said.

Police succeeded in scattering the protesters, then scuffled with small groups along side streets. Wailing sirens signaled the approach of police reinforcements, who blocked media access to the area. An ambulance crew was seen attending to an injured officer while other police hustled away individual demonstrators.

The protesters then regrouped, blocking a main thoroughfare with garbage containers and park benches. As the confrontation neared its third hour, police split the demonstrators into three groups and deployed water cannons to push them into different directions in a new attempt to disperse them.

The confrontation demonstrated the continued high potential for violence from radical opponents of Gyurcsany, whose taped comments set off the country's worst violence since its failed anti-Soviet revolution 50 years ago.

Gyurcsany -- whose taped comments admitting his government had “lied morning, evening and night” about the economy provoked the fury -- said he intended to weather the storm.

“I'm staying and I'm doing my job. I'm extremely committed to fulfilling my program, fiscal adjustments and reforms,” he told The Associated Press. “I know it's very difficult for the people, but it's the only direction for Hungary.”

Police were caught off guard the previous night by the fury of a few thousand people who broke away from the main demonstration and stormed the state TV building. Pushing past officers with protective helmets, clubs and shields, about 400 got inside, breaking glass and causing other damage.

The violence shook a country that for much of its last two decades had been held up as a model of progress following the collapse of communism in eastern Europe. Gyurcsany called it Hungary's “longest and darkest night” since the end of communist rule in 1989.

The public was stunned by the blunt admissions of government ineptitude during its first term and the cynicism contained in a 25-minute tape that was widely aired and published by news media over the weekend.

“We did nothing for four years. Nothing,” Gyurcsany said on the tape, made during a private talk with Socialist parliament members that was larded with crude expressions. Later he said: “We screwed up. Not a little, a lot.

”No European country has done something as boneheaded as we have. ... Plainly, we lied throughout the last year and a half, two years,“ the prime minister said.

The outpouring of rage was fueled by austerity measures implemented by Gyurcsany's Socialist-led coalition seeking to rein in a government budget deficit expected to surpass 10 percent of Hungary's gross domestic product this year -- the largest in the European Union.

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on September 20, 2006 2:29 PM.

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