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Police, protesters clash as Hungary remembers 1956

Written by: Staff

BUDAPEST, Oct 23 (Reuters) Police and anti-government protesters clashed today in Budapest as a deeply divided Hungary commemorated the 50th anniversary of the country's 1956 uprising against Soviet rule.

State news agency MTI said there had been 10 arrests and that some protesters had been beaten as police sought to move them further from parliament, the site of official celebrations for state officials and more than 50 foreign dignitaries.

The anniversary has been marred by a month of protests sparked by Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany's admission he had lied about the economy to win elections in April, exacerbating deep divisions in the country of 10 million people.

Even before that leaked speech, many on the right questioned whether the Socialists, the direct successors of the communists whose rule was cemented for 33 more years when Soviet troops put down the uprising, should be allowed to lead the celebrations.

Inside parliament, Gyurcsany said in 1956 Hungarians had no choice but to rebel, but that now the country, which held its first free post-communist elections in 1990 and joined the European Union in 2004, was a modern democratic state.

''Despite the often justified disappointment and discontent, the majority of Hungarians believe that parliamentary democracy is the most suited to express people's will and to create law and give a programme to a free Hungary,'' he said.


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