The Hungarian flag was hoisted in front of Parliament and lowered to half-mast on Monday morning, to commemorate the 63rd anniversary of Soviet forces crushing the 1956 uprising. Defence Minister Tibor Benkő attended the ceremony. Throughout the day, the public had the opportunity to light candles at the House of Terror museum and visit plot 301 in the Rákoskeresztúr cemetery, where revolutionaries were buried in unmarked graves during the retributions following the uprising.
Defence ministry state secretary Szilárd Németh told an event presenting a film about Mária Wittner, who was sentenced to death for her involvement in the 1956 uprising before the sentence was commuted to life, that “the foreign army” which entered Hungary to crush the uprising in 1956 never managed to put out “the flame of freedom-loving Hungarians”. Referring to the opposition, he said: “We are free now but a pack of hyenas is still in action”. Today’s opposition, he added, were “enemies of freedom”. “The communists have avoided being called to account for their sins and they are still trying to return to power,” he said.
The green opposition LMP party told a press conference marking the anniversary that even if the current situation of the country was not comparable to 1956, a parallel could be drawn because “the current government also acts in line with the interests of large external powers”. Former communist leader “János Kádár used Soviet tanks at the time to rule and [Prime Minister] Viktor Orbán uses the Russian nuclear train”, party co-leader László Lóránt Keresztes said. The government serves Russian, Chinese and Turkish interests, he insisted, adding that LMP had submitted proposals to stop the Paks nuclear power station expansion and the Budapest-Belgrade train line construction projects.
A memorial concert will be held in the St Stephen’s Basilica in downtown Budapest in the evening. November 4 was declared a national day of mourning in Hungary in 2013.