Hungary: Government hit by mass protests

Mass protests against Hungary’s right-wing Viktor Orban regime.

Over the past seven years of Hungary’s right-wing Viktor Orban regime, there were no strong protest waves — until now.

Every day, groups are popping up across Budapest demanding Orban resign. Every two-to-three days, masses gather to protest against new undemocratic laws proposed by the ruling Fidesz party in parliament.

The two biggest protests happened within just one week. The first major protest took place on April 9. It started as a protest against the so-called Lex CEU law that attacks academic freedom and ended with the masses marching on the Fidesz head office.

People wanted to send a clear and simple message to President Janos Ader not to sign the new law. This law was made to stop the functioning of the Gorge Soros-funded Central European University in Hungary.

The university was a problem for the government, since it was not under state control and Fidesz wants to centralise education for propaganda purposes. Young people knew this, and did not want to give an easy victory to Fidesz. They started organising, and from small protests it became huge, with more than 80,000 people taking part.

A democratic country cannot ignore such masses, but much to people’s disappointment the president signed the law proposal. This action poured oil on the fire and the organisers promised more actions.

The second major protest happened three days later, on April 12, at Heroes’ Square where ten of thousands attended. This time, it started as a protest against another anti-democratic law, which attacks NGOs in Hungary. The new law would put a huge amount of pressure, unnecessary administration and a stigma on human rights and anti-corruption groups.

Later that evening, the protest spread to many parts of the city, blockading traffic across the city.

People protested about the law, but in the air you could feel the protests were about more than one or two laws — they were directed at the regime. People have had enough.

The driving force of these protests are the youth. Young people are demanding a country where there is future, with decent wages, a strong civil society, democracy and an independent education system.

The youth do not want to stop now. They feel they are strong and that when they are united, Hungarian society stands with them. They do not want to stop until the Orbán regime resigns.

[Reprinted from Transform Network.]