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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 February 2007, 12:54 GMT
Hungary riot report spreads blame
Hungarian police make arrest on 23 October
Hungarians were shocked by the scenes of violence in Budapest
A commission investigating a wave of violent anti-government protests in Hungary last year has concluded the opposition was partly to blame.

The prime minister's leaked admission he had lied to win re-election sparked the clashes in September and October.

But, the report says, the main opposition party Fidesz inflamed the situation by letting protesters believe it backed them in their actions.

The independent commission also criticised the police for excess force.

Anniversary protests

"Extreme right radical groups could rightly believe, for a certain while, that the main opposition party was not only encouraging them, but actually backing them up," the Gonczol Commission's report said.

It was sharply critical of the Fidesz party, which it said had failed to accept election defeats in 2002 and 2006 and encouraged a belief that the protesting crowds would be able to overthrow the government.

The report said that extreme groups, rather than operating in an isolated manner, began to set up a network and maintain contact with political groups.

The BBC's South-East Europe analyst Gabriel Partos says Fidesz is unlikely to accept the report's main findings.

Loose talk

Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany was also criticised by the commission for failing to realise the anger his leaked comments would provoke.

During the worst of the protests, which coincided with the 50th anniversary of an uprising against Soviet rule, police used tear gas, water cannon and plastic bullets to disperse the crowds, drawing charges of police brutality.

The city's police chief admitted illegal behaviour by some policemen and pledged that those found guilty of such actions would lose their jobs.

The commission's main recommendations relate to policing.

They include a call for a ban on demonstrations outside parliament and a 24-hour time limit on demonstrations to prevent disruptive tent cities emerging outside public buildings in Budapest.

But there is also a clear message to politicians that they need to act more responsibly and that it is time they toned down their rhetoric, our correspondent reports.




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