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Hungary: Budapest Citizens Fight For Their Right To Party

On Sept. 1, a silence decree came into force in Budapest's District VI, which is well-known for its lively nightlife. The decree requires bars, restaurants and 24-hour-shops to close at 10 PM. The local council promised to review the regulation on Sept. 10 and keep further arrangements suspended, but the notary of District VI with a group of policemen started a round-up on Sept. 1 and made several bars and restaurants dismiss their guests and close their doors in Nagymező Street, which is also known as the Broadway of Pest.


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The first civil disobedience movement and protest against the decree took place the same day at Liszt Ferenc Square, András Földes of index.hu reported (HUN):

[...] The demonstration of the outlets in Terézváros ['Theresa City' is the other name of District VI] Thursday night succeeded wonderfully. Protesting against the decree of the district, which came into force Sept. 1, the outlets at Liszt Ferenc Square turned off their lamps at 10 PM. Foreigners sitting on the terraces looked around wonderingly, as if they were waiting to get to know some special Hungarian habit. The citizens from Budapest were undisturbed, they kept on talking.

It became obvious that they knew what was happening when the lamps turned back on and a wave of applause swept over the terraces. The square again looked as if the decree of District VI hadn't come into force that day, saying that the outlets of entertainment, restaurants and shops were allowed to be open until 10 in the evening instead of midnight and 1 AM. [...]

The Budapest Times published an article after the revision of the decree, reporting:

Despite having promised a suspension of the silence decree on bars and restaurants, the council of Budapest’s District VI voted against the discontinuation of the regulation at its session last Thursday. [...] After the decision was announced around 50 district bar owners held a meeting and unanimously agreed to stay open after 10pm. [...] They will likely close at 1pm, which, according to the decree, was previously the latest time a bar or a restaurant could remain open if no resident complaints were made against it.

The citizens started to organize a demonstration in front of the district's mayor's office on Facebook (HUN, ENG):

We had no other choice but to DEMONSTRATE against the so-called “silence order” came into force on the 1st of September, according to which ALL PUBS AND RESTAURANTS have to close the latest at 1 a.m. in district VI (Terézváros).

Unfortunately it turned out that quite a few members of the delegate board simply did not say the truth upon promising the withdrawal of the order came into force on the 1st of September. Now we’ve been assured by the renegotiation of the issue at the end of October, expectedly it will amount to the same result. So far negotiations and protests were not efficient, so our only way is a demonstration.

Noone has the right to paralyse the nightlife of downtown Budapest, to bankrupt well-known and popular pubs, to restrain the vivid clublife. Budapest is a real European metropolis which can not exist without night life!

More than a 1000 workplaces, yearly hundreds of thousands guests and the fame, renown of Budapest are at stake!

Would you like to party in the future in Terézváros? Than demonstrate with us! Without YOU it won't work. The more people are there the more evident it will be how ridiculous and destroying this order is.

The venue of evening parties is downtown Budapest, noone can take it away! [...]

A website was started dealing with the topic, trying to reconcile the views of the local residents who want silence and rest at night and of those who prefer keeping the boisterous nightlife alive. Takarodó.com (‘sack time'.com, HUN) published several ideas and proposals that they would like to discuss with the local council. They're also spreading the word and try to invite people to the demonstration on Monday.

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