By Stefan J. Bos, Special Correspondent Worthy News reporting from Budapest
(Worthy News) – Hungarians dressed in white have braved pouring rain to mourn those who died of the government’s coronavirus measures and COVID-19 patients who passed away. Their ‘White Silence’ rally in Budapest was, at times, interrupted by the tolling of small church bells on top of two ladders.
The activists silently sat and stood in front of the neo-gothic parliament. Inside the building, legislators voted Tuesday to end the state of emergency that allowed Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to rule by decree.
Under his watch, hospitals were emptied of patients to prepare for the intake of COVID-19 patients. At least hundreds of chronically ill patients were told to go home. “Many have since died. Thousands of hospital beds were emptied within days, ” in the army-led operation, said Anna Donáth, a European legislator of Hungary’a liberal Momentum Party.
“This is unprecedented in Europe,“ she told Worthy News. Many people have died as a result,” she added. “Even Italy, which had a much worse infection rate, did not do this.”
In the end, very few hospital beds were filled in a nation with roughly 4,000 confirmed infections and less than 600 coronavirus-linked deaths on a population of almost 10 million.
The government claims the measures were part of efforts to keep infection rates among the lowest in Europe.
Besides emptying hospitals, the government also tried silencing media questioning its policies.
Under the coronavirus legislation, journalists could potentially face up to five years imprisonment of their information was considered fake news.
Protestors said many Hungarians are afraid to rally against government policies. Tuesday’s event also came on the 31st anniversary of the reburial of Hungary’s Prime Minister Imre Nagy, who was hanged in 1958.
He was executed for his role in Hungary’s 1956 Revolution against Soviet domination, which was crushed by Russian troops.
While the last Russian troops left in the early 1990s, people attending Tuesday’s silent rally suggested the ideals of 1956 have not yet been realized.
They remained hopeful that one-day things will improve in Hungary. A rainbow was seen above the city.
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