Suffolk woman tells of Hungary unrest

A SUFFOLK woman who moved to Hungary has found herself caught up in the worst unrest the country has seen since the fall of communism.But Sarah Cooper's parents, who still live in Bury St Edmunds, said they were not overly worried about their jet-setting daughter's latest adventure.

A SUFFOLK woman who moved to Hungary has found herself caught up in the worst unrest the country has seen since the fall of communism.

But Sarah Cooper's parents, who still live in Bury St Edmunds, said they were not overly worried about their jet-setting daughter's latest adventure.

The freelance journalist has previously travelled to Dubai and worked in Australia but last night she said she had never witnessed anything like the demonstrations in Budapest over the past two nights.

On Monday night, violent fringe groups hijacked peaceful rallies by ransacking offices and smashing shops, she said.


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The Suffolk-born journalist, 30, said: “Last night a group broke into a radio station and tried to broadcast a message and around 100 policemen were injured.

“The locals are dismayed by what has happened. There were old people, teenagers and students with banners and posters calling for the Prime Minister to go but there was one group looking for trouble.

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“They also tried to break into one of the city's main tram stations and it has disrupted the whole city this morning. When I went into one of the main squares it was full of riot police but (at that time) it was quiet and calm and they were very polite.

“There has been some talk of anti-Russian feeling building up but I don't think it will escalate much further - but I do wonder what will happen during the anniversary celebrations of the 1956 revolution.”

The latest protests were sparked by Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany's remarkable filmed admission that his government had lied about the economic figures in order to win victory in the general election in April, and had achieved nothing in its past four years in office.

But Mr Gyurcsany remains defiant after the second night of riots in the capital and has said he will not tolerate violence.

The poor state of Hungary's economy remains local's main concern as the country is labouring under high levels of national debt.

The leader of the conservative opposition party, Fidesz, Viktor Orban, has said that Mr Gyurcsany's fate should be decided by the voters in the October 1 local elections, which are expected to unseat the premier.

Despite the scenes of violence, Sarah's father Paul Cooper said he was not worried about his daughter's wellbeing.

Speaking from the family home, he said: “I'm not at all concerned for her safety - she can look after herself.

“She knows what's what and I'm not surprised she went down to the demonstration because she has her head screwed on and if it got difficult she would know to clear out. I just think she has done really well all round the world.”

will.clarke@eadt.co.uk

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