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Backers of dissident stage protest in Hungarian court

More than 100 supporters of a dissident Hungarian publisher occupied a courtroom where he was standing trial on assault charges Wednesday in what the dissidents called an unprecedented demonstration.

Gabor Demszky was found guilty of assaulting two policemen and given a suspended six-month prison sentence after the judge moved the trial to another room sealed by a line of police with billy clubs. The trial is the first of its kind in 10 years and the firmest move in a year-long campaign by the authorities to quell dissent.

Demszky told the court the policemen gassed him and beat him unconscious when he tried to take back some papers they had seized while searching his car in September.

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