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Five Detained by Police in Rallies Marking Execution of Revolt Leader

June 17, 1988

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) _ Police detained five Hungarian dissidents Thursday on charges they chanted anti-government slogans and incited a crowd in rallies marking the execution of leaders of the 1956 anti-Soviet revolt.

Witnesses said the five, all known as leading dissidents in Budapest, gathered in a downtown square and chanted, ″Democracy″ and ″Nagy″ after a peaceful morning vigil at the unmarked graves where Imre Nagy, a leader of the 1956 revolt, and associates are believed buried.

The ceremonies marked 30 years since the official media published a Ministry of Justice decree on June 17, 1958, announcing the four were sentenced to death for having ″played a leading role in the preparation and starting of the counter-revolutionary uprising in October 1956.″

Calls for Nagy’s rehabilitation and that of some of his associates have become increasingly frequent.

The 1956 revolt began Oct. 23 with mass demonstrations for a new government and demands that Soviet troops leave Hungary. But 200,000 Soviet troops and 2,500 tanks struck Budapest Nov. 4 to quell the uprising.

The official MTI news agency said in a terse report that ″a group of persons who had been active in the 1956 events″ gathered in Budapest despite a police warning.

The report said the men then ″tried to bring under their influence a crowd of about 350 to 400 persons whom they had mobilized.″

″Police took the necessary steps to ensure public order. In the course of this, Sandor Racz, Gabor Demszky, Roza Hodosan, Jenoe Nagy and Peter Egetoe were taken to the police station,″ the report said.

Witnesses said a group of about 20 or 30 people laid flowers in mid- afternoon at the eternal flame to a Hungarian premier executed in the abortive 1848 revolution against Austria and stepped back into a crowd of about 400 people who had gathered.

About 150 police guarded the square and conducted frequent identity checks, the witnesses said. One witness said police charged onlookers who tried to approach the flame.

After a half-hour, the crowd moved towards the Danube river and then on to the nearby Hungarian television station, the witnesses said. There, dissident Janos Kiss addressed the crowd but a witness said the speech was drowned out by crowd chants of ″AVO″ to the waiting police.

The AVO was the dreaded secret police in the 1950s.

The witness said riot police then moved in to break the crowd. It was not immediately clear if anybody was injured.

A reporter for Austrian radio said Thursday’s vigil at what is believed to be Nagy’s unmarked grave drew at least 250 people.

The area was scattered with crosses, candles, flowers and small Hungarian flags. A list of names of those executed after the 1956 uprising was read and an unidentified speaker called for their rehabilitation and proper graves for them, a witness said.

Rehabilitation would likely require approval not only from the Hunagrian Communist party but also from Moscow, which is thought to have played a key role in ordering Nagy’s execution.

There was no official Hungarian report on either of Thursday’s events, which were announced last week by a 37-member committee calling itself ″Let Justice Prevail″ and including Nagy’s daughter, Erzsebet.

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