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Hungary: Another Silence Decree Blows a Gasket

A year ago, Budapest residents started a public debate about the silence decree implemented in the city's District VI. Later people supporting the lively nightlife of the Hungarian capital rallied in front of the mayor's office against the decree, which at first required bars, restaurants and 24-hour shops to close at 10PM. The regulation was changed eventually, allowing the businesses to stay open till 1AM, and, in the places where there had been no complaints in the previous year or if the residents of at least half of the neighbouring houses agreed, till 6AM.

By the end of the summer, another Budapest's district – District VII – issued a similar silence decree. This boosted the anger against regulations, which peaked in a rally in front of the mayor's office after a notarial decree constrained the opening hours of the popular ‘ruined pub’ Szimpla Kert (‘Szimpla Garden') due to a request [HUN] from residents of the neighbouring houses. The decree prohibited the local to stay open from midnight till 6AM.


Szimpla Kert

photo from szimpla.hu

Szimpla Kert is located in an area of District VII called Erzsébetváros, where there are several other bars, pubs and restaurants. Szimpla is among the most popular ones both with the tourists and the Hungarian citizens.

Weisz Manfréd Huba of Kettős Mérce (‘Double Standard') wrote in a post [HUN]:

[...] Szimpla is not only a pub, it is a trademark which has a brother pub in Berlin, this is the first place where every foreigner goes regardless of [his/her] age.

The specialty in all this is that Szimpla hires people to tell those walking in Kazinczy Street not to make noise. They tell this not only to the guests [of Szimpla], but to everyone! [...]

Zero of Vastagbőr (‘Thick Skin') blog reminded his readers in a post [HUN] about the concomitants of the implemented restrictions:

[...] In Erzsébetváros (where the mayor is still [György Hunvald], who is in prison) they are really not joking: in the last weeks, there have been several raids at locals of Kazinczy Street. Raids of labour, tax, fire services, consumer protection and police raid as well was at Szimpla kert, policemen with dogs were at ‘400‘ [HUN], at ‘Kőleves kert‘ [HUN], and also at ‘Ellátó kert‘. According to several eyewitnesses, foreign guests were searched while having dinner, there was a local where the police visibly looking for drugs searched each guest, and they let them out only one by one. [...]

As seen last year, people started to say ‘no’ to the silence decree on Facebook [HUN].

Bloggers of Kettős Mérce organized a “noisy rally’ [HUN] in front of the office where the notary who released the decree worked.

Moha, a student online magazine, published an article [HUN] with a video about the rally where Weisz Manfréd Huba said this: “It's not possible to do this to a pub famous all over Europe, with this kind of municipal decrees, when they are changing their own regulations to make the place close or make it impossible for them to work.” One person in the video is shouting things like, “You aren't good enough to be a bartender!” And by the end of the video, an old woman is cheering the rallying crowd: “Go on boys!”

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