July 15th, 2011

Concerns Over District VIII Homeless Starvation Promotion Program

kukazo.jpgJust a week after discovering that feeding pigeons in Kecskemet is the new bus-stop smoking in Budapest – i.e. something you’d never think would be made illegal in Hungary – we learn that another seemingly harmless activity widely practiced by law-abiding Hungarian citizens is already a crime.

Somehow we missed it, but back on January 1, the municipal government of Budapest’s District VIII enacted an ordinance that makes scavenging out of waste containers – a.k.a. “dumpster diving” – a violation punishable by fines of up to Ft 50,000 (€185). Given that the nyócker is perhaps Budapest’s most impoverished neighborhood, the rule caused immediate hardship for some locals, leading to a demonstration in March against the regulation, after which police launched criminal procedures against one protester for urging others to deliberately violate the regulation, and eight others for following the demonstrator’s advice.

If this seems like an unnecessarily harsh crackdown on people who have already been crushed by life, you’re not alone. Earlier this week civil rights ombudsman Máté Szabó called on the district to overturn the ban, saying that it constitutes a disproportionate violation of the rights of vulnerable people. The local government said it would give an opinion on the ombudsman’s report “later.” Our opinion is that anyone who is poor and hungry enough they feel the need to eat out of the trash should feel free to likewise wait until later to consider the district’s ruling.

And here is what people were saying back before we forced readers to use Facebook to comment. Weren't those the days?
  1. curious says:

    Is this just for district 8 or for other districts
    too? In my building they are so noisy at night and
    leave a mess after.

  2. klara says:

    i think that is the problem throughout, not the actual removal of items but the manner of which it is done and the way the premises are left. sad all around.

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