In other news…

After a recording surfaced of, what could be described as, an honest speech from the Hungarian Prime Minister, Ferenc Gyurcsany, albeit to a select audience, hundreds were injured as outraged citizens attempt to storm Parliament in Budapest. Further protests reported tonight. In Thailand, a seemingly injury free – if not free from the threat of violence – attempted coup as the military move while the unpopular Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [or maybe not unpopular – Ed] was at the UN. And an outbreak of civil agreement in the historically uncivil dispute between Spain and Gibraltar… Meanwhile.. grass-roots consultation, apparently, is to be the latest reported theme locally.. CorrectionAs Paul (formerly of N Irish Magyar blog) points out in the comments, although the protest began at the parliament, the violence was sparked by a group of protestors who left the largely peaceful protest there and moved to the state TV headquarters, as the BBC report noted

However hundreds of protesters gathered outside parliament on Tuesday, carrying a symbolic coffin with a placard that read: “We will bury the government of Gyurcsany.”

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

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.

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  • Miss Fitz

    Talk about off topic….. but thats a dreadful picture of Peter Robinson in that BBC link Pete. He looks likes he’s getting older by the minute, and his hair looks mucher greyer

  • Miss Fitz

    that would be much greyer of course, as opposed to the german version….. mucher greyer

  • Miss Fitz

    I’ll go to bed now, but I think I’ll add Peter to my list for Lourdes.

  • Thaksin Shinawatra was popular with many people in Thailand’s northeastern region and with Bangkok taxi drivers.
    Not so popular with the rest of the people in Bangkok and many of the elite.Very unpopular in the far south of Thailand.
    The new acting Prime Minister, General Sonthi is a Muslim.

  • Pete Baker

    Not so off-topic as you might think at this late hour, Miss Fitz. :o)

    manfarang

    An unreported aspect of the coup? Or just a coincidence?

    The military have, again reportedly, stated they will return the country as soon as possible to the electoral system… whatever that means..

  • Since January 2004 there has been unrest in the Muslim dominated southern provinces.In fact the largest insurgency outside of Iraq,although of local problems not linked to outside groups.
    The coup is very much linked to events in the far south of Thailand.

  • AC1

    So Britain has 3 (4?) colonies left.
    Which will the first to get freedom and which will be the last?

  • Pete Baker

    manfarang

    “The coup is very much linked to events in the far south of Thailand.”

    One of the links points that out… and, rather than what you’ve implied, points to Thaksin Shinawatra failure to address those events as being, at least in part, behind the coup by the military.

    But I’m not yet convinced, by what you’ve provided, that the connection you imply exists.

  • Zach Lane

    Pete,
    I must say that you have to be one of the most solid bloggers I read. Thanks for throwing this report in. To me the most interesting aspect of the Hungarian riots is not the fact that a PM blatantly lied to the electorate repeatedly and then stated that he was proud, but the misrepresentation in so much of the media. I’ve seen AP photos in the local papers that state “conservative protesters etc…” to the simplified allusions of the BBC when they report “conservative party leads in the upcoming elections blah, blah, blah”.

    In the Hungarian language reports things are portrayed quite differently however. Yes there are certainly nationalist overtones to the protests (Hungarian flags being wrapped around protesters) but there are also deeper feelings of outrage. People are citing the “reforms” that have gotten them nothing or how farmers have had to dump their good into rivers because there was no one they could sell it to (there’s a Steinbeckesque overtone if there ever was one).

    Although it appears that for the moment that Gyurcsany is pulling a “Bush” (there’s nothing wrong) we’ll have to wait and see as the Hungarian web sites cite growing protests throughout the country.

  • Harry Flashman

    Manfarang

    I always take it as a good rule of thumb that if taxi-drivers like a guy then he’s doing something right. Which comedian said it was a pity that the only people who knew how to run the country were all too busy driving taxis and cutting hair?

    Thailand has long been knocking on the door of the first world, it has advanced in leaps and bounds in the past couple of decades and has moved a long way from the backward, sleazy drop out haven it once was (and which most people think it still is). This advancement has been made by people like Thaksin who have helped pull the country up by its bootstraps, I would hate like hell to see Thailand slip back into tin pot Asian banana republic status.

    The “insurgency” as you call the beheading of school teachers and buddhist monks is a disgrace, you seem almost proud that it has gotten so dreadful (though I very much doubt that it’s bigger than Afghanistan or Chechnya). It would be nice if nothing else comes from this coup then at least the army could go down there and sort it out big time, it seems like I needn’t hold my breath however.

  • Mick Fealty

    Apparently CNN and the BBC were cut yesterday, so there was not a lot of news to be had inside Thailand. Though there are now a fair few reports of what appears to have been a bloodless takeover…

    These readers comments in the Australian Herald Sun are worth browsing. And there’s the Irish Times take on it, which reports up 1500 Irish nationals in the country, 500 residents and about 1000 on holiday.

  • AC1
    Siam/Thailand has never been colonised.

    Harry
    Thaksin had set up a scheme helping the taxi drivers to own their taxis rather than having to rent them from someone else which explains why he is liked by them.
    Yes I’ve witnessed Thailand’s development over the last 25 years. Bangkok has changed beyond recognition to the modern city it now is.
    It still has a long way to go before it reaches first world status.
    Yes your are right, the situation in southern Afghanistan is worse now than what is happening in the far south of Thailand.
    General Sonthi recently launched attempts to solve the crisis in the south.
    The communist insurgency of over twenty years ago was halted by political means.Heavy handed methods such as the massacre in Tak Bai and at the Kru Se mosque will not solve the problems in the far south.Normally there are bombs every night in the far south but last night it was quiet.

  • Paul

    “In the Hungarian language reports things are portrayed quite differently however. Yes there are certainly nationalist overtones to the protests (Hungarian flags being wrapped around protesters) but there are also deeper feelings of outrage.”

    Zach Lane

    I live in Budapest and have been reading the same Hungarian language reports you’re talking about, I must say my interpretation is slightly different.

    The majority of the “unrest” (ie the violent trouble at the state broadcaster on Monday and the Socialist HQ last night) has been caused by far-right nutters linked with the fascist Jobbik party and hooligans aligned to Ferencvaros football club. And the right-wing opposition are starting to attract harsh criticism for failing to condemn these attacks on the police and property

    Whilst there is most definitely outrage at Gyurcsany, the actual numbers attending the peaceful demos has not been that great, 1o,ooo max at the parliament for example. As far as I can see, in the countryside and provincial towns, the protests (due partly to the Belfastesque autumn weather we’re having) are starting to petter out.

    Interesting theory doing the rounds that it was actually the Socialists themselves who leaked the tape. In terms of their electoral support they have nothing to lose because it’s at rock-bottom already. The country’s economy was probably only two or three months from meltdown unless immediate sweeping fiscal reforms were introduced and Gyurcsany is a lot more concerned about the opposition within his own party preventing him from carrying these out and along with the “lying” part of the tape is a quite strident “back me or the party and country’s finished” passage.

  • Paul

    “hundreds were injured as outraged citizens attempt to storm Parliament in Budapest”

    Pete,
    On a point of pedantry, it wasn’t the parliament but the state broadcaster that was taken over on Monday.

  • Aniko Nagel

    Hello, everyone,
    I am writing from Hungary (from a town in Western Hungary, not Budapest) and I would like to say that many of us were simply shocked to see those pictures of riotig, burning cars and vandalism on Monday/ Tuesday.
    I mean, we’ve got used to see those football hooligans vs. police squads with Makrolon shields fighting in stadiums, but NOT in the streets… Many of us are bitter because of the so-called reforms and because of being treated like children by our politicians (which is also a shame, but as I’ve been surfing the Net I can clearly see that it’s nothing unique). So the reforms are no good news for us, but the majority would never have in mind to blow the Hungarian broadcasting station (MTV) up… because it’s public property and it’s barbarism and it’s ‘not European’… In my opinion those who are talking about ‘Revolution’ are sadly mislead… the things happened at the MTV building is nothing but rowdyism (so I agree with Paul on that).

  • Aniko Nagel

    I forgot to add that the Hungarian media reports massive protests across the countryside… well, a hundred peaceful protesters in Gyor – a city of 150 000 inhabitants… I wouldn’t call that massive or huge… The situation isn’t that bad, really…

  • Greenflag

    Aniko ,

    I spent some time in Southern Hungary -Pecs in the 90’s and swa some of the problems facing the ‘changeover ‘. Not an easy leap to make but I’d say that Hungary along with the Czechs and Slovenians seem to be making the most progress .

    Old Hungarian joke :

    In the 1960’s the Hungarian Government announced it’s intention to establish a Ministry of the Navy . The Soviet Government was to say the least surprised .

    ‘But you have no sea coast ‘ said the Soviets

    ‘Why is that a problem ? ‘asked the Hungarian . You have a Ministry of Justice ,the Bulgarians have a Ministry of Culture and the Yugoslavs have a Ministry of Ethnic Tolerance .

  • Pete Baker
    “that the connection you imply exists”
    Other than knowing people who have fled from the south there is a story at

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/World/Muslim-rebel-welcome-Thai-coup/2006/09/21/1158431820045.html

    The Muslim leader in question is Lukman Lima vice president of PULO(Patani United Liberation Organisation) who is living in exile in Sweden.