Ferenc Gyurcsány, prime minister during anti-government riots in 2006, said in a court testimony last week that the officers charged with offences accused over the protests were not guilty. Gyurcsány said he had phoned deputy police chief Árpád Szabadfi on the night of September 18, 2006, when the TV headquarters in Budapest was attacked. He had given him the “request, or, if you like, the order” that police should use all legal means to protect law and order, public safety and public buildings, including the TV building. “In a difficult situation this is a prime minister’s duty,” he insisted. Gyurcsány said he did not give any orders to police other than this one. He said Szabadfi told him early the next day that police had been unable to protect the TV headquarters. Still that morning the national security cabinet had met where police leaders asked the prime minister to secure funds for overtime for police, an emergency centre, technical equipment and protective gear. Asked why there was a lack of accountability after press reports of excesses by police not wearing ID badges, he said the committee had established there were professional failings not necessarily of a criminal nature. He agreed police should wear ID on duty, and had fired the national police chief in May 2007 and initiated the dismissal of the Budapest police chief. Gyurcsány said police were better prepared to deal with the riots on October 23, 2006 and Fidesz officials were forewarned about potential safety risks to their rally at Astoria that day. The judge said Fidesz leaders denied they were warned. Gyurcsány denied an assertion by a witness that a member of his government had organised football fans to join the TV headquarters attack. He said there were reports of then-opposition politicians being actively involved in organising the events.