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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 September 2006, 23:39 GMT 00:39 UK
Hungary parliament condemns riots
Hungarian firefighters examine wrecks of burned cars in front of the national TV headquarters
Violent clashes erupted outside the state TV station offices

The Hungarian parliament has approved a declaration condemning Monday night's violent protests in Budapest.

The violence erupted at the state TV building following a largely peaceful demonstration calling on Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany to quit.

The protests were sparked by the release of a tape in which Mr Gyurcsany admitted lying to win re-election.

More than 10,000 people have again gathered outside parliament demanding the resignation of Mr Gyurcsany.

The parliamentary declaration called on Hungarians to be tolerant in political debates and preserve "calm and order in the country".

Protesters storm station

Mr Gyurcsany said the protests, in which dozens of people were hurt, were Hungary's "longest and darkest night" since the end of communism in 1989.

File photo of Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, 2005
We lied morning, noon and night
Ferenc Gyurcsany
Excerpt from leaked tape

He has promised to crack down on any repeat of Monday night's violence.

Mr Gyurcsany has made a series of comments to the media declaring his intention to stay on as prime minister and continue reforms begun after April's general election.

His own socialist party, and the junior party in the governing coalition, have so far stood behind him.

But their loyalty may be tested with the outcome of local elections in two weeks' time, says the BBC's Nick Thorpe in Budapest.

The socialists and their liberal coalition allies are trailing the conservative opposition party Fidesz in the polls.

Nick Thorpe says personality clashes within the party have so far remain masked, but Mr Gyurcsany has already alienated many his party with his embrace of free-market reforms.

Monday night's trouble began when a group of protesters left a largely peaceful demonstration near parliament and went to TV headquarters.

There were dramatic scenes after night fell

According to reports, they wanted a petition to be read out on air, and when refused, attacked the building.

Riot police sent to contain the protest came under assault from protesters throwing cobblestones and bottles and setting cars alight.

Police were forced to withdraw before returning to expel the protesters. Officials said 150 people had been injured - 102 of them police officers.

Fiscal hole

Mr Gyurcsany's comments which sparked the protests were heard in a tape of a meeting he held with his MPs a few weeks after April's election, and leaked to media on Sunday.

In excerpts broadcast on state radio, Mr Gyurcsany candidly admitted his government had accomplished "nothing" and had been lying for "the last year-and-a-half to two years".

"We lied morning, noon and night," he said in a speech punctuated by obscenities.

Mr Gyurcsany should resign... He and his friends should leave this country for good
Protester, Budapest

Mr Gyurcsany won the elections on a platform of tax cuts, but has since proposed tax increases to deal with a huge budget deficit.

Protests had already been planned this week over the austerity measures.

The European Union on Tuesday urged the government to press on with its efforts to mend public finances.

Spokeswoman Amelia Torres told reporters in Brussels that it was in the interests of Hungary that the economic situation should be "brought to relatively sustainable levels".




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Watch an interview with Ferenc Gyurcsany




SEE ALSO
In pictures: Budapest clashes
19 Sep 06 |  In Pictures
Profile: Ferenc Gyurcsany
19 Sep 06 |  Europe
Caught on tape: Infamous gaffes
19 Sep 06 |  Europe
Timeline: Hungary
09 Sep 06 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Hungary
14 Jun 06 |  Country profiles

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