Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hungarians Mobilize Against Virtual Book Burning

'Milla' Demonstration for Democratic Rights

Today a mass demonstration has been called in Budapest to demand freedom of speech and the press in Hungary. March 15 is a national holiday commemorating the 1848 revolution. This is in response to the shutting down of independent television, radio and print voices by the authoritarian Fidesz government. The demonstration is to be held at the statue of Sandor Petofi, one of the national poets of Hungary, who in 1848 read 12 demands to the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, including 'freedom of the press' on the steps of the Hungarian National Museum. His statue is on a street named "Freedom of Press Street." Organizers, who are not directly connected to any political party, hope for a million people. Unions have joined in these protests.

In other Hungarian news, the museum and research library of the Marxist Gyorgy Luckacs in Budapest has also been shut down by the Fidesz government. Is a book burning next? Another Hungarian writer, Akos Kertesz, was given refugee status in Canada, due to harassment by the Fidesz authorities. Note that Hungary is a member of the European Union.

Statues of progressive poets and writers in other parts of the Hungarian capital, like the "Red Count," are under consideration for removal from public places as well. This follows the practice after the pull-out of the Soviet Army in 1989, which lead to the collapse of the Hungarian Communist government. All memorials or monuments to socialism, the Soviet Red Army, Marx, Lenin, Hungarian revolutionaries or the working class erected during the period of the Hungarian workers' state were relocated to a private park outside Budapest.

March 15, 2012
Red Frog

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