Budapest: Városliget, occupied park

201603_ligetvedok_budapest_1A group of determined people have stopped the government’s plans to cut down trees in Budapest’s biggest and most loved public park, Városliget, at least for now. How long will they be able to do so, we’ll see. The government wants to remove the museums found in the Royal Palace and relocate them to a to-be-created museum quarter carved out of the park. It is a very costly mega project that is just as unpopular as the compulsory Sunday closure of shops. Spending all these huge sums of public money, without any transparency, in a time when schools and hospitals are falling apart, is absolutely unnecessary. People understand it’s about two things. First, to distribute the EU funds Hungary receives among loyal friends who get these projects well overpriced, and so our Prime Minister can finally move in the castle where the Hungarian kings lived. A true story of rags to riches: from a mud-brick shack on the edge of a village to the Royal Palace. If people let it happen.