Hungarians protest against gov't measures

Updated: 2014-11-18 10:48


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Hungarians protest against gov't measures

Demonstrators try to push through a police line towards the gate of parliament but were driven back, during a protest in Budapest November 17, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

BUDAPEST - Hungarians held a large-scale demonstration in front of Parliament on Monday evening, protesting a laundry list of issues they consider government wrongs in what has been dubbed "Public Outrage Day."

The list included protests against a planned but not implemented Internet tax, against government corruption, generally high taxes, and a pro-Russia foreign policy, while they demanded respect for European Union measures, transparency, and responsible governance. A particular grievance concerns the government's refusal to dismiss Ildiko Vida, tax office chief, or to even explore an allegation of corruption voiced by the United States, which has denied her an entry visa. Vida denies the charges.

Andras Horvath, a former tax office staff member called for urgent measures to combat corruption.

The current center-right Fidesz-Party-led administration was re-elected this past April with a two-thirds majority, assisted by general public disillusionment, low voter turnout, and election district gerrymandering.

The demonstration officially ended at about 8 pm local time after left-wing MPs hung a European Union banner from the parliament building to the delight of the crowd. After the crowd broke through the barrier set up in front of the entrance to parliament police in riot gear tried to force it backwards, but had little luck. Demonstrators taunted police by waving European Union flags in their faces.

The crowd slowly dissipated sometime after 9 pm on the chilly drizzly night.

The actual number of demonstrators was not announced but the crowd filled Kossuth Square in front of the Parliament building. Estimates of this rally have ranged from over 10,000 to thousands, to tens of thousands. This was the fourth such demonstration held in Budapest in the past month.

Sister demonstrations were held at a number of other venues both in Hungary and elsewhere.

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