Demonstrators dissatisfied with the state of the rule of law and press freedom in Hungary protested for democracy in the capital on Saturday afternoon. According to the organisers, 100.000 protesters attended the demonstration, but most correspondents reported it was rather tens of thousands.
Organised as a follow-up to last week’s demonstration, the event “2.0 We are the majority! – Another protest for democracy” started in Kossuth Square in front of Parliament. Protestors made their way to Budapest’s Szabadsajto (Freedom of the Press) Road to hear speeches.
“[Ruling] Fidesz has watered down the rule of law and stifled the press and this is why they have a two-thirds majority,”
organisers of the protest have said. They said the opposition parties “will also be put to work”, insisting that “they, too, are to blame for getting us to this point”.
“We have to fight together with them for a new, fair and just electoral law and the investigation of corruption cases.” “We … want to replace a regime,” they said. “The regime of [Prime Minister Viktor] Orban that is corrupt to the core and endlessly nefarious…”
A number of opposition parties were represented at the demonstration. The protestors waved the national colours, European Union flags, the stripes of the House of Arpad and banners they made themselves.
When the protestors at the front of the demonstration reached Arany Janos Street proceeding along Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Road, the last ones were starting out from Kossuth Square – a distance of around 1.1km.
Speakers called for the opposition to join together, for civil organisation, and immediate action to unseat the government.
At Szabadsajto Road, the speakers said the government was only able to stay in power through a campaign of fear, and they called for an end to “the campaign of hate and lies” and for the establishment of a “fair” public media. They also called for solidarity and the restoration of a united Hungary.
Peter Marki-Zay, who defeated Fidesz in the Hodmezovasarhely mayoral by-elections, received great applause from the crowd, he was the main speaker of the opposition demonstration. He stated: it is difficult to accept the result of the election, but they cannot change it, despite the irregularities. He also added that „the Hungarian people replaced the opposition” at this election.
„We cannot entrust our country to those, who were not able to cooperate for the sake of the nation and not even for their own interests,”
Marki-Zay stressed. He highlighted: a united opposition has to be established, all opposition forces bound by a peaceful coexistence on the basis of their support for democracy, the rule of law, a market economy and European integration. Marki-Zay told the organisers:
„There will be a new opposition, you are the new opposition”.
The mayor of Hodmezovasarhely finished his speech with telling the opposition voters to hold each other’s hand, in their souls never stop holding it, and put aside hostilities.
According to the organisers, the mass of demonstrators spanned from the Pest side of Elizabeth Bridge all the way to Astoria. The organisers announced the next demonstration for May 8, when the new parliament is formed.
Source: MTI/Hungary Journal