Hungarians around the country attended festivals and events yesterday celebrating the country’s March 15th national holiday. The largest event, however, was a mass demonstration in Budapest to show solidarity with educators seeking to fix Hungary’s broken education system. Hungarian daily Népszabadság reports that as many as 35,000 people turned out to support the movers and shakers responsible for making the poor state of public education into a national issue.
The demonstration began at Heroes’ Square and continued to Kossuth Square outside Parliament where speakers addressed the crowd.
The most significant demand made during the demonstration was delivered by István Pukli, director of Budapest’s Blanka Teleki Gymnasium. Pukli said both Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and President János Áder must apologize for humiliating Hungarians and undertake meaningful deliberations with teachers by March 30 or else members of the “Tanitanék” (I would teach) education reform movement will strike for an hour.
Pukli then asked all those who support the teachers’ cause to show solidarity and take part in the one-hour strike, which he said would cause “life to stop”. Pukli proposes teachers ratchet up pressure on the government by extending the strike by one hour on each occasion if the hour-long strike fails to accomplish anything.