Violent protests rocked Budapest on the night of 18 September, following a peaceful rally calling for Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány to resign. The rally descended into chaos when protestors invaded the headquarters of Hungarian state television; some 150 people were injured, including over 100 police officers.
Calls for the PM to stand down followed the broadcast of a taped recording of Gyurcsány speaking to his Socialist Party in April; he claimed that the government had lied to the electorate consistently for two years, achieved nothing, and survived thanks only to providence, tricks, and a healthy global economy.
Despite the unrest, Gyurcsány has refused to resign, and threatened to respond to future unrest with force. The conservative opposition party, Fidesz, has echoed protesters’ calls, and boycotted parliament on 19 September. It stands to make gains at local elections in October, and capitalise on the unpopularity of the government, which has increased taxes and cut public spending to reduce the large budget deficit, despite a pledge to cut taxes in its manifesto.