Govt steps up security rules for major public events

Budapest, February 3 (MTI) – The government has stepped up security rules for larger entertainment events in wake of a nightclub stampede in which three young women were killed last month.

The new regulations will come into effect within the next 90 days, Sandor Pinter, the Interior Minister, told journalists on Thursday.

    Under the new rules, organisers must apply for a licence if they plan to hold an event at an indoor venue which holds 300 people or more or an outdoor venue with capacity for 1,000 people and above, Pinter said. In addition to earlier complience rules, permits from police, the fire services, and in some cases building or health authorities will be required for a venue to organise large-scale events. Earlier organisers were only required to notify authorities of holding a major event.

    The new rules will not apply to gatherings permitted under Hungary’s free assembly laws, or to church, election or family events, Pinter added.

    Fines for violators will be increased, he said.

    Pinter said the rules had to be changed because earlier regulations were abused by venue operators, who often withdrew then resubmitted their licence application and avoided the required on-site checks by authorities.

    The government’s preventative measures will be extended to sports facilities, too, the government spokesperson, Anna Nagy, told the press.

    On January 15, three young women died after panic broke out at a popular party at the West-Balkan nightclub in the centre of Budapest. The crowd stampeding towards the exit crushed three young women to death.

    Eight people were suspected in the case, who have been released pending trial.

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