- 15 Jul 2016 9:00 AM
Most of these trees are neither old nor valuable and were planned to be chopped down, but now in response to heavy protests the company has decided to re-plant the trees instead. A public procurement tender will be called for this service within days, he added.
The decision not to fell these trees will “cost more money and time” and is professionally not well justified, but if protesters insist, they will hear them out, Sághi said.
On the dispute over changes to greenery in the park, he repeated earlier statements that “top category” green areas, which means no structure can come between the soil and the green surface, will increase from 57.1% to 61% after the construction.
As regards complaints about violence security guards used against protesters last week, Sághi said he considered the “degree of security at the project site unnecessary,” but the “quality” of protests had made tight security required. He said there were mistakes committed by the guards, but “fundamentally they were not in breach of the laws”.
The opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) has called for an investigation of the actions of security guards in Budapest’s City Park at protests last week. Last Wednesday, police removed activists from the Hungexpo site, where they had been camped for over a 110 days in protest against the planned works, including chopping down trees. Police started procedures against 63 activists and made 12 arrests.
Ligetvédők (Park Protectors) said in a statement that Városliget Zrt’s promise to leave healthy trees in the park was “nothing but a bluff”. The organisation said that the fact that only healthy trees will be spared means that “some experts will take good money and use their conviction to declare a lot of trees unhealthy”.
Replanting, especially in the summer, “most certainly means the death of a tree”, the statement added. The opposition Dialogue for Hungary (PM) party urged the introduction of photo IDs for all security guards operating in the city.
Rebeka Szabó, the party’s official, told a press conference on Thursday that protesters against the Liget Project were subject to several unlawful measures by “bald headed thugs who acted as security guards”.
She also called on police to screen security companies and make sure that they cannot employ “thugs, many of whom have police records for football hooliganism.”
Republished with permission of Hungary Matters, MTI’s daily newsletter.
MTI photo: Marjai János