Over 10,000 to protest in front of Budapest Opera House at 6pm

January 2, 2015

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Protesters with signs in front of parliament: “They steal, they cheat, they lie”

Eight individuals are scheduled to speak at the demonstration called for January 2 by MostMi (NowUs) to mark the third anniversary of the demonstration that took place at the beginning of 2012 in front of the State Opera House against Hungary’s new Fundamental Law that came into force at that time. The demonstration, again at the Opera House, starts at 6 pm.

According to event organizers, the aim of the protest is the restoration of the norms of a rule-of-law state.

The “NowUs: We are building a new country!” demonstrators say on their Facebook page for the event: “We would like to rekindle the liberating feeling after the winter holidays and experience over and over again that we are not alone, that more and more are with us who dare to stand and raise their voices against the current despicable system. In fact, we also know what country we would like to live in instead: a free country in which there is solidarity.”

More than ten thousand have indicated via Facebook their intention to participate in the demonstration. The organizers ask the participants to arrive from the direction of Oktogon (the stage will face that direction, and the subway will not stop at the Opera House).

According to the program published on Wednesday, the following eight individuals will speak:

Zsolt Várady and 
Bori Takács, initiators of the NowUs social movement.
Bernadette Somody, the director of the Eötvös Károly Institute
Tessza Udvarhelyi, one of the founders of the School of Public Life
Zsolt Csizi, activist with “The City is for Everyone”
Csaba Madarász, expert on participatory democracy
Gábor Vágó, Hungarian citizen (former LMP politician)
László Kálmán, linguist

One of the spokesmen of the earlier successful capital movements,  Zsolt Várady, wrote the following in November:

We are organizing on January 2nd, 2015 an event on the occasion of the third anniversary of the large demonstration against the system, at which we will not merely express our dissatisfaction with the system, but also express what values and how we imagine the country in which it would be better for everyone to live than the current one.  At this event we will articulate a vision based on the experiences of thematic forums, and I will launch the test version of the already announced new portal for social organizers.

Although the organizers expressly asked that the political parties stay away from the event, Ferenc Gyurcsány’s Democratic Coalition (DK) and the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) are also trying to mobilize their supporters. Gyurcsány announced on December 22 that DK members and activists will participate in the protest wearing their party badges, which many consider to be an unfriendly gesture. DK’s Szabolcs Kerék-Bárczy announced on Tuesday that the activists “felt threatened”, and for this reason his party had decided not to wear the badges at the demonstration. He encouraged everyone to participate.

György Király, MSZP deputy chairman and author of the “Reasonableness and Responsibility Platform”, issued a circular letter in which he asked those participating to express their party allegiance in a “discrete but clear manner”, such as a red ribbon. The organizers of the demonstration ask that the participants wear colored ribbons.

Photographs taken of previous demonstrations can be viewed here:

December 16: “We have nowhere to retreat” demonstration
November 17:  “Day of public outrage” demonstration in Budapest
October 28:  “We are the two-thirds” protest against proposed internet tax.