Thousands protest in Hungary against ‘slavery’ law

Fourth night of demonstrations shows increased level of opposition to Orban government. Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Budapest for a fourth day of protests against new laws that critics say erode workers’ rights and codify government control over the judiciary.
The protests are quickly becoming the most co-ordinated show of opposition to the manner in which nationalist prime minister Viktor Orban has centralised his power since taking office in 2010. Another protest has been called for Monday evening. Students, union workers and opposition MPs gathered in front of Hungary’s parliament on Sunday and later marched in sub-zero temperatures to the headquarters of MTV, the public television broadcaster. An estimated 15,000 Hungarians participated throughout the day, with police using tear gas against a crowd of about 2,000 outside MTV, where 10 opposition MPs asked to read protesters’ demands. The protests were triggered by the approval last week of a law that would allow employers to seek up to 400 hours of overtime a year. Opponents have dubbed the measure a “slavery law”, which was passed on Wednesday.
The group is also calling for “independent public media”, citing the continuing consolidation of media in the hands of Orban loyalists, including an initiative announced last month to donate almost 500 government-friendly titles to a foundation run by an ally of Mr Orban. The flagship public channel began its morning broadcast on Monday without a mention of the previous night’s protest. Balasz Hidveghi, a spokesman for Mr Orban’s Fidesz party, said on Monday that it was “quite obvious” that “the Soros network” is behind the protest, referring to George Soros, the Hungarian-American billionaire financier who has been a frequent target of Mr Orban’s government. Mr Hidveghi alleged that protesters and opposition MPs had been “provoking” the police “in order to produce bad news about Hungary”.

via financial times: Thousands protest in Hungary against ‘slavery’ law

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