Demonstrations: policemen, firefighters, soldiers, and prison guards

It is becoming more and more obvious that far-right ideologies are spreading rapidly within the armed forces in general. There were signs earlier, but politicians chose to ignore the trouble that was brewing. It’s enough to think of the surprising news in May 2009 that one of the two trade unions that exist in the police force had a signed agreement of support with Jobbik. In exchange, the leader of the trade union, Tettrekész Magyar Rendőrség Szakszervezete (Trade Union of the Resolute Hungarian Police), was put on the party’s list of candidates for the European Parliament. Admittedly, this is the smaller of the two trade unions but it still represents 20% of all the policemen. There were a lot of threatening words uttered about the inappropriateness of such a political deal, but in the end there were no consequences. As usual, I must say.

The sloppy police work at the sites of the serial murders of Gypsies was suspected to be deliberate. The ordinary policemen sent out to investigate didn’t think that it was necessary to put too much energy into the deaths of some Gypsies at the end of the village. Neighbors and relatives called their attention to obvious clues, but they were ignored. That sloppy work on the spot made the discovery of the culprits very difficult.

Or, there are stories from Gyöngyöspata where eyewitnesses reported that the official policemen who were sent out seemed to be on the best of terms with members of the Véderő (Defense Force) and For a Better Future Civilian Guard, two of the illegal paramilitary organizations.

And finally here was the joint demonstration of policemen, firefighters, soldiers, and prison guards where members of the two paramilitary organizations active in Gyöngyöspata joined the demonstration organized by the trade unions. They joined with the blessing of Péter Kónya, who represented both trade unions of the police force. When he was asked in an interview whether he didn’t see anything wrong with demonstrating together with illegal paramilitary forces, he answered in the negative. They offered to support their demonstrations, and the trade unions of the armed forces welcome anyone who wants to join them.

As we can see on this photograph, the understanding between the leader of Defense Force, Tamás Eszes, a man with a criminal record, and the members of the Hungarian police was great.


Thus it is perhaps not terribly surprising that since 1990 this demonstration was the least peaceful one. The participants were noisy and threatening. Fidesz politicians were nowhere to be seen with the notable exception of Sándor Pintér, minister of the interior and former police chief, who dared to show up in front of the very belligerent crowd and promised negotiations come Monday. Since then the three-hour-long negotiations between Pintér and the leaders of the different unions achieved nothing. But at least they agreed to meet again.

Given the ideological make-up of this crowd, it is also not suprising that a home-made Israeli flag was set on fire. The alleged culprit is a fifty-eight-year-old retired fireman. He denies that he had anything to do with the burning of the flag, but one of his neighbors, when asked whether she can imagine him doing something like that, answered in the affirmative. Thus, he must have been known as an anti-semite who didn’t hide his feelings.

In brief, the Hungarian government has quite a mess on its hands. The police force visible on the streets is made up of extremely young men, many of whom are under the influence of a neo-Nazi ideology. When the chips are down, this police force might not even be loyal to the government.  After all, earlier, in November 2008, the same Péter Kónya in a television interview outright threatened the Bajnai government with withdrawing loyalty from it if the members of the police force lose the extra thirteenth month pay. And anyone who thinks that Kónya and the other trade union leaders would be kinder to the Fidesz government would be wrong. At the demonstration there were plenty of anti-Fidesz signs, and the crowd was sending Viktor Orbán straight to hell just as they used to do to Ferenc Gyurcsány. Here is a telling picture:


The caption’s translation: “Until now I voted for Fidesz, I will never make that mistake again.” “Mr. Orbán, don’t increase your own wealth from our wages.”

That’s where Fidesz’s collusion with Jobbik and its propaganda within the police force against the socialist-liberal government led. Now, try to fix the situation. It won’t be easy.


  1. Just about the most depressing thing I have read on here in the last year. If you can’t trust the police, army, etc, who can you trust?
    Maybe Orbán isn’t the biggest threat to Hungary after all, maybe the biggest threat is the sheer dysfunctionality of Hungarian civic life.

  2. Paul: “If you can’t trust the police, army, etc, who can you trust?”
    Perhaps you find it strange but I had to learn that one can trust the police and I am never sure that I have mastered this art. I do not know how this is in Hungary currently but if some old reflexes are still alive you do not “trust” these institutions too much anyway.
    But with the other point you confirm my worry of the other day: the problem is that the state is so weak not that it is too strong… Strange in the current circumstances given the worries of a dictatorship but this (weakness) is what I learned from Gyöngyöspata. And this opens the space for Vederö and the like. Terrible prospects.

  3. Well, scary stuff. Law enforcement is like the military. They want to serve. They want to be useful. They want to be heroes. That is the type who joins (mostly). All they need is leadership.

  4. Fidesz and it’s leader Orbán let the spirit out of the bottle. Now they can’t force it back.

  5. Once you open a can of worms you will always need a bigger tin to re–can it.
    As to the Jobbik sponsored ‘Police Trade Union’, it is the only place where they feel ‘wanted’.
    When do the official deportations of the Jews, foreigners, Roma and the ‘Magyar idegenszívű’ begin?

  6. “That’s where Fidesz’s collusion with Jobbik and its propaganda within the police force against the socialist-liberal government led”
    So they are demonstrating AGAINST Fidesz because they were colluding. I see.
    Throughout the whole post, I was going say mockingly that this time you can’t possibly distort reality so much that in the end you can accuse Fidesz of colluding with the far-right.
    But not even in my wildest dreams could I imagine such a chimera what you did here.
    Such a rape of sanity is well beyond my imagination.

  7. I read this post last night, and I needed to sleep on it, I needed to digest it. The police in Hungary (just like the teachers, doctors, etc.) are underpaid. Nobody fixed this problem, not the MSZP, not the Fidesz, so they share the blame in that one. Being a policeman is not a very attractive position on Hungary, lets face it. I have never heard a police joke in Canada, but plenty in Hungary. When education itself lacks directions toward liberal ethics, morals and values, then this is the outcome you get. Hungary is moving toward a one religion, one party, one True Hungarian state. These are popular ideas that the new constitution and Orban embraces, and the Jobbik takes it a step further. Orban comes out and started to question the right of police, started to question their credibility and so forth. Hello Orban! These are the same policemen who went out in 2006, and you are telling them that they are liars, and question their integrity. Now, Orban is scared to give them the power it needed to step up against anything. THen as an alternative they see Magyar Garda, Vedero, and such. I can see why they would be attracted to that. There hasn’t been any proper action taken against extremist groups. There is no proper education is going on, there is not one single speech from Orban to Hungarians that embraces Hungary as a whole, it is all about God, and family, and Hungarians across the border, the lost territories and such. Here is a “leader” who misses a momentum and instead of bringing the nation together provides messages that segments that already segmented Hungarian society even more. There are Jews, and Christians, and Gypsies, and Hungarians across the border, families, and singles who live in sin, homosexuals, lefties, and everything else. There is no common ground. What Hungary needs is an alien invasion to fight one common enemy in order to create a coherent society from this mess.

  8. The fact that policemen and firemen tend towards the right wing, and have a potential bias to the far right is not in itself surprising. I believe you would find very similar sentiments in many countries (including the Unite States where the armed forces as always been very right wing and is now increasingly “Christianist”). The worrying part of this is that these sentiments are combined with very poor training and discipline and lousy pay. This combination certainly can be a cause of continuing problems in the future.
    What I want to know is if the police are now Jobbik’s ally, how will Jobbik continue to vilify the police in connection with the events of September and October 2006. Are they not the same people?

  9. Here is another interesting bit about Sandor Pinter, minister of interior. He’s negotiating the higher retirement age with the law enforcement unions while he himself was on police pension in the past 15 years. Our guy is 63 now. He retired at 48. Yep. Besides his 1+ million a month wages he gets an extra 150k pension. He’s a millionaire by the way.
    If this guys is responsible for the law enforcement, what do you expect?

  10. Someone. Sir Robert Peel the founder of the modern police forces said when asked about police pay “I can get all the men I need for 4 shillings a day, but I will get the men I want for 3 shillings a day”. By that he meant people he wanted were people who were more concerned with being police men and having a career than they were about having money.
    As you rightly point out after the riots inspired by no lesser person than the speeches and declarations of the leader of Fidesz in Budapest) The police who were doing their duty were denigrated, called liars, vicious thugs and the like by ‘His Mightiness ‘A Keresztapa’ (The Godfather aka Orban Viktor). The poor young copper does not know which way to turn. Jobbik jumped in and filled the vacuum by providing them via their unions with political support. This something that the government has failed to do.
    Now ‘Keresztapa’ (The Godfather) has so fragmented the country that he is getting close to needing some sort of external enemy to physically fight with to re-unite the people.
    If Jobbik can get the police on its side and a large part of the army they will stage a coup-d’état.
    Johnny-troll I hope that your Jobbik card is fully paid up you may need.

  11. Johnny Boy: “Such a rape of sanity is well beyond my imagination.” Maybe it is time to wake-up? Johnny Boy, as you may noticed by now, this is not a support forum for Fidesz or for the Jobbik, and although you do not give a “flying f00k” about others opinion but Fidesz and Jobbik support, you have to recognize that there is a reality out there. In that alternative world to yours, people are tolerant for gypsies, Jews, libs, and even for conservatives. WHat intelligent people do not tolerate is hypocrisy, xenophobia. righteousness, far-right sentiments and such, all the traits that you single handedly represent or Fidesz represents. Do not come hear and salivate all over every threat, and go around offending people who are opposed to you support something that you despise, democracy, unity and tolerance.

  12. Blind Odin: it’s truly staggering to see that none of you recognize the complete lack of sane reasoning in this post (as well as in all others). It is totally obvious that these protesters are completely anti-Fidesz and combining them with Fidesz is so irrational of a stunt that it should stand out even for a 3yr old. But not for you.

  13. @Johnny Boy: Let me add one element of logic that you seem to have missed. Have you ever heard of change? Like, people’s opinion for parties can change over time? Maybe those who are anti-Fidesz now were pro-Fidesz earlier?
    Try to re-read the original post with that in mind, maybe it will start making sense.

  14. @Johnny This is what happens when you use extra right propaganda in law enforcement to “train” them against the socialist government. The FIDESZ never really was liked by the extra-right so now the dogs are biting the handler.
    Johnny, capish? Did I mention your dumb?

  15. An: oh yes they change. Immediately as facts prove your concept wrong, the only solution is that facts changed but there can be no problems with your concept.

  16. @Johnny Actually, what are you debating here? Are you saying that there are no anti-FIDESZ tendencies amongst law enforcement personnel? Despite all the photos and signs from the demonstrations? I’s OK if you didn’t understand Eva’s post, but call one lie at a time or you’ll confuse yourself (and us).
    I think I’m dumb too because I’m not following you …

  17. Could someone explain how the police force is organized in Hungary? In the US we have local, state, and federal (FBI) departments. If there are rogue elements at the lower levels, the upper levels can theoretically deal with the corruption (as the federal agencies eventually did during the civil rights movement).
    I saw a quote by the head of the police union that was a bit alarming “Konya said police, firemen, prison guards, customs officers, soldiers and disaster management workers were feeling “extremely bitter”, and he also warned that the time might come when union leaders were no longer able to guarantee the peaceful nature of demonstrations.” This from MTI.

  18. Is there not a Fidesz proposal to create a “csendőrság” being implemented at the moment?
    Maybe Viktor will need them to keep the police in line,,,

  19. Johnny Boy: “it’s truly staggering to see that none of you recognize the complete lack of sane reasoning in this post (as well as in all others).” We already did Johnny, many times, and this is why we asked you to refrain posting your gibberish here. You are right most of the time your posts lack sane reasoning. You would get your well deserved pad in the back on the Magyar Hirlap’s boards.

  20. the failure is not the simple police man.
    the failure is the intellectual class. it sells out, it plunders.
    the journalist and artist sold out the nation.
    there is one moldova, and probably nobody else half-honest.

  21. @Törik Yeah, I’m with you! And down with the dentists too!! Torturing SOBs …

  22. Torik: “the journalist and artist sold out the nation.” Can you expand on this? I am just not sure what publications or what artists are you referring to, as you mention Moldova, and I am assuming, Moldova Gyorgy. Am I right. Moldova was always very honest and I read every book before immigrating. “Akit a mozdony fustje megcsapott”… I think I read it 3-4 times. He was always honest and critical, just like Hofi. S I wonder what Hofi would make out of this mess. Did you know that Moldova and Csurka were enrolled in the Film Academy at the same time?

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