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Hungarian PM Defends Comments Amid More Protests


Thousands of Hungarians protested peacefully into the early morning hours of Friday calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany.

Four days of protests have followed the prime minister's admission in a tape broadcast Sunday that he lied repeatedly to voters about the economy.

In an interview published in Friday's Washington Post newspaper Mr. Gyurcsany defended his comments and says he did not lie. He says he was only exaggerating for dramatic effect.

Prime Minister Gyurcsany has refused to quit and vowed to stay on to pursue economic reforms, including an austerity package. The opposition, for its part, rejected his call for talks Thursday on efforts to deal with the crisis.

Wednesday, several hundred youths broke away from a peaceful rally and clashed with police, but the violence was less intense than the previous two nights.

Hungary's main opposition party called off a planned rally on Saturday in Budapest due to the violence.

This week's unrest erupted after Mr. Gyurcsany was heard on a leaked audio tape admitting that he and his government had lied repeatedly for years about the poor state of the economy in order to retain power.

More than 200 people have been injured this week, including many police. About 200 protesters have been arrested.

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