Text message: There will be violence

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hvg.hu

Information gatherers from the company that provides security to a number of high-risk public institutions including Hungarian TV (MTV) were also among last night's crowds. Security company In-Kal's investigators warned the TV headquarters' security service in good time of the approaching violence, hvg.hu has learned. Thanks to the company, police were aware of the protesters' intentions before the siege began. Despite this, they did not move more officers into place.

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In-Kal security's information gatherers sent text messages to the building's security service, warning staff that the hooligans were planning a siege.

"We headed to Nador utca, and we're now at the TV HQ. There'll be violence, 2 or 3 minutes," read a text message sent to a senior security officer. hvg.hu understands In-Kal's staff had informed authorities about the coming attack by 10.30pm on Monday. Despite this, police sent no reinforcements. hvg.hu has learned that the organisers of the siege are planning similar actions in future.

Gyorgy Lasz, managing director of In-Kal security, told HVG.hu: "99 per cent of the besiegers are well known supporters of Ferencvaros, Ujpest and Diosgyor football clubs. We know them by name, more or less." He claims the police are also familiar with the individuals concerned. The security expert believes that police have been allowing the problem of football hooliganism to grow unchecked for years.

He continued: "Out of 4,000 to 5,000 people on Szabadsag ter, between 150 and 200 people formed the hard core. There were 20 to 40 people in the toughest group. We know them well from football matches. And the police know this hard core as well. They know their weaknesses.

They're more or less immune to tear gas, and they'll get back up even if they've been beaten to a pulp. Tear gas has virtually no effect on them."

Lasz believes the attackers were able to take the building because they were quicker than the police. He said: "It was a mistake for the police to allow the crowds to join up with the hard core. They should have been separated at the very beginning." The security specialist said the biggest problem was that police allowed the hooligans to regather after beating back each attack. Lasz explained: "Officers kept moving in and then withdrawing." This tactic was understandable, he added, since without reinforcements behind, a full repulsion manoeuvre could easily fail.

When HVG.hu asked whether any of the demonstrators were known hooligans, Eva Tafferner, a spokesperson for Budapest police, said: "There were a few people we'd had 'contact' with before. If videos show that they committed a crime, then we'll bring them to account."

Tefferner could not say whether video evidence would be necessary to bring the perpetrators to justice, or if evidence from eye-witnesses would also be brought to bear.