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Illegal Streets

Ilir Tsouko
Jun 17 – Jul 7, 2021

In hardly any other Eastern European capital there are so many homeless people as in Budapest. But instead of helping them with more social laws, the government is criminalizing the already weak. Since October 2018, a new constitutional law has prohibited "living in public spaces". This includes, for example, when homeless people sit or lie down somewhere with their widespread belongings. Anyone who fails to comply with the police's requests to leave the place three times within three months’ risks being arrested and even sentenced to prison. In fact, in the weeks after the law came into force, the homeless disappeared from the squares and underpasses.

I have visited Budapest to see the situation with my own eyes. During the day, the homeless where hiding in between the crowded squares of Budapest. At the Blaha-Lujza square you can see the homeless people standing in line for lunch. After lunch, they disappear. Where are they going? Where do they live? How do they dress?