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Hungarians took to the streets to mark the day in 1956 when a massive Soviet army invaded Hungary, to crush a popular anti-communist revolution which was only 12 days old.
At least 2,800 Hungarians and more than 700 Soviet soldiers died in fighting.
Rallies and other commemorations passed peacefully, easing concern among police and the government over a resumption of violence that has rocked Budapest in recent weeks. Fear that a Hungarian opposition march would be hijacked by violent right-wing extremist proved unfounded.
Official events solemn but controversial
Supporters of the government and its opponents vied with each other to prove their peaceful intentions at the commemorations.
Several official events took place. Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany laid a single white carnation at a new monument that stands near where a statue of Joseph Stalin was toppled during the uprising. By the afternoon thousands more flowers had been laid at the same site.
But Gyurcsany faced a jeering crowd at the event. Many on the right believe his Socialist Party represents communists in capitalist clothing, and have questioned its right to lead the commemorations.
Opposition commemorates 1956 and last week's riot victims in candle-lit march
The main right-wing opposition party, Fidesz, boycotted official events and organized a separate commemoration rally.
As darkness fell, around 50,000 opposition supporters carrying torches or holding candles set out from the former headquarters of Hungary's communist secret police, marching in silence through the centre of Budapest.
"We are commemorating the crushing of the uprising, but we would also like to demonstrate that it would be important to live in freedom," said Bela Eross.
The rally doubled as protest decrying the 'victims of brutal police attacks' on October 23, when police and protestors clashed during commemorations for the start of the uprising.
That day, police sealed off the area around parliament as dignitaries from across the world arrived in Budapest for the commemoration events, after which several hundred far-right protestors evicted from there disrupted a much bigger Fidesz rally nearby and scuffled with police.
Many protesters were hurt when police then fired rubber bullets, tear gas, and colored water to disperse a crowd of thousands, eventually storming a barricade hours later.
Unanswered questions about the 23 October riots
The governing Socialist Party and Fidesz have since argued over how the police handled events.
Fidesz has alleged that police deliberately pushed the far-right groups into its rally so it could attack the peaceful demonstration, at which demonstrators were calling for Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany to resign. It accuses police of using excessive force and using truncheons to attack peaceful protesters and brutalize innocent bystanders.
The government this week opened secret service reports on the riots and claimed far-right political groups incited some of the violence.
"Both the government and Fidesz have been confronted by the fact that a social group has evolved that doesn't shy away from violent acts," said Attila Juhasz, an analyst at research firm Political Capital in Budapest.
Fidesz's parade today ended at Astoria, the same spot where the party held its Oct. 23 congregation. Participants then drifted home and traffic resumed through the area, a main route through the capital.
The far right roams downtown streets
In all, over 30 events and demonstrations took place on Saturday.
They included at least four demonstrations by far-right groups in and around Szabadsag square, which is home to the television headquarters that was stormed as the protests turned to the first riots on Sept. 18.
Protestors demanded the removal of a monument located there to Soviet troops that liberated Hungary from the Nazis at the end of the Second World War. The square was cordoned off by police and officers were on stand-by. There were no reports of violence.
Some far-right protestors did attempt to merge with the main rally, but Fidesz stewards blocked their way.
The hundreds of demonstrators, many of them with their faces covered, then roamed the city aimlessly, accompanied by a small police escort. They blocked traffic and waved nationalist flags before congregating in downtown Vorosmarty square.
Fewer than 100 people gathered there in the drizzling snow at 8:30 p.m., demanding that Gyurcsany and his government resign and waving signs depicting Hungary before it lost two thirds of its territory after World War I.
Demonstrators took turns to speak at a microphone, with one saying that the police aren't their enemy because "this government doesn't pay them enough to live on either."
Police did not have to intervene and the demonstrators dispersed late in the evening.
Weather may have played pivotal role
The weather may have played a role in keeping today's events peaceful. Since last week, temperatures have dropped in Budapest. It was 2 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit) at 6 p.m. On Oct. 23, it was about 17 degrees Celsius (62 degrees Fahrenheit), with some protesters in light jackets.
On Sunday a day of prayer has been organised by some of the civic groups calling for the prime minister's resignation.
BBC News: Hungary mourns crushed uprising
Reuters: Hungary opposition holds rally to mark uprising
Bloomberg: Hungary Marks 1956 Soviet Invasion; Protests Peaceful (Update4)
Monsters and Critics: No violence as Hungary commemorates 1956 uprising (Roundup)