Protesters rally for 3rd night in Hungarian capital

Police fired tear gas early Thursday to disperse hundreds of demonstrators demanding the prime minister's resignation over his admission on a leaked tape that he lied about the dismal state of the economy.

The protesters were part of a much larger group that had gathered Wednesday evening in a fourth straight day of demonstrations against Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany's government, growing to 15,000.

Police, outfitted with stronger riot gear after previous clashes left dozens of officers injured, mobilized as hundreds of demonstrators broke off and rioted for several hours early Thursday. Fifteen protesters were injured in clashes with police, including two seriously hurt by tear gas canisters, authorities said.

The calls for his resignation of Gyurcsany came after leaks of his taped comments that he had "lied morning, evening and night" about the economy. The tape was made at a closed-door meeting in late May, weeks after Gyurcsany's government became the first in post-communist Hungary to win re-election.

Gyurcsany has stood his ground since the protests began Sunday evening, insisting that his government intended to press ahead with economic reforms.

"The policy of raw emotions and radicalism are in no way a viable path," he said Wednesday, adding: "The government doesn't want to change its policy."

He called for talks Thursday with parliamentary leaders in what would be his first face-to-face meeting with the opposition since the rioting began, reports AP.

Gyurcsany's refusal to step down after leaked comments that he had lied sparked violence unrivaled since the anti-Soviet revolution 50 years ago. For several days, police battled thousands of radicals trying to storm strategic or symbolic buildings.

Close to 200 people have been taken into custody since the riots erupted early Tuesday, including 62 people detained Thursday, Budapest police spokeswoman Eva Tafferner said. She said most were released after questioning but some were charged with rioting, collective ruffianism and acts of violence against police.