October 23, 1956

Protest turns into Revolution

Student marches in solidarity with the events occurring in Poland leave from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics and Eötvös Loránd University, which eventually meet at József Bem Square, named after the Polish general who fought alongside the Hungarians during the 1848-1849 Revolution and Failed War of Independence. By this time the crowd numbers in the tens of thousands. The flag with a hole in the center, sometimes called the revolutionary tricolor and the symbol of the revolution, made its first verifiable appearance here. From here the crowd marched to parliament, demanding Imre Nagy address them.

By the time the crowd assembles at parliament, the number has swollen to approximately 200,000. Nagy delivers a lukewarm speech, with some departing for the Hungarian Radio building and others for the Stalin statue in the City Park.

The Stalin Statue, after resisting initial attempts to pull it down is finally toppled after metalworkers cut it at the knees. The statue is then dragged around the city in continuously smaller parts. At the Hungarian Radio building, the assembled crowd demands to read the 16 Points on the radio. After shots are fired around 9 PM (almost certainly by ÁVH secret police from inside the building) the crowd eventually storms the building. With this gunfire the protest turns into a revolution.