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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 September 2006, 11:06 GMT 12:06 UK
Hungary PM's crisis talks snubbed
Hungarian riot police arrest a demonstrator in Budapest, 21 Sep 06
More than 10,000 people demonstrated for a third night
Hungary's main opposition party, Fidesz, has rejected talks with the Socialist-led government about the continuing anti-government riots.

"It makes no sense talking with the government," said Fidesz spokesman Peter Szijjarto.

About 15 people were hurt in clashes with police after a third night of protests in the capital, Budapest.

The rallies were sparked by a leaked tape in which PM Ferenc Gyurcsany said he had lied about the economy.

Violence condemned

The government is seeking consensus for police moves to tackle the violence, the BBC's Nick Thorpe reports from Budapest.

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Fidesz has defended the right of people to protest peacefully, but has also unequivocally condemned the violence.

Many of those taking part in peaceful rallies during the day are Fidesz supporters.

The violence each night has been partly blamed by police on known football hooligans, our correspondent reports.

Fidesz has cancelled a political rally planned for Saturday because of fears it could lead to more violence.

Prime Minister Gyurcsany remains defiant, saying he will not tolerate violence.

The Socialist leader has resisted opposition calls to resign, and says he remains committed to a programme of tough economic reforms.

We lied morning, noon and night
Ferenc Gyurcsany
Excerpt from leaked tape

More than 100 police officers have been hurt in the street violence and scores of protesters detained over the last three days. Tear gas has been used to disperse the crowds.

The Socialist government has blamed the right-wing opposition for not doing enough to calm the situation.

Economic woes

But a new opinion poll shows for the first time more Hungarians wanting Mr Gyurcsany to go than to stay.

The BBC's Europe analyst William Horsley says the turmoil threatens to push Hungary's financial crisis out of control.

The value of its currency, the forint, has fallen on world markets and the country's international credit rating is turning negative. He says all this is putting intense strain on the loyalty of Mr Gyurcsany's Socialist Party and his Liberal allies.

Viktor Orban, the Fidesz leader, said the local elections in Hungary in two weeks' time should act as a referendum.

HAVE YOUR SAY
I don't see any solution to our situation other than a new election or the prime minister resigning
Ilona Kovacs, Budapest, Hungary

"The situation is that in Hungary today, the legitimacy of the government has become questionable," he said.

"It does not have the basic trust necessary to enjoy the support of the electorate, nor does it have the basic trust necessary to complete any programme to manage the financial crisis."

If the Socialist Party is defeated, he suggested, they should step down and be replaced, for a limited period, by a government of experts.




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Watch an interview with Ferenc Gyurcsany



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