Over two thousand protesters participated in the “Shame on you, Viktor Orbán!” demonstration organized by opposition party Együtt (Together) Sunday afternoon. The protest began at Szabad Sajtó utca (Free Press Street) and continued along the left bank of the Danube to the steps of the Hungarian Parliament in Kossuth Square.
The protest included speeches by poet Vírág Erdő, Roma activist Jenő Setét, university department chair András Máté and opposition politician Péter Juhász, who played a leading role in organizing the event.
Educator András Máté opened the event with a sharp critique of what he calls the Hungarian government’s failed education policies. Máté did not mention Europe’s refugee crisis, and instead focused on the poor quality of education in Hungary, cutbacks in education funding, and how the two problems combined have resulted in many students being denied the opportunity for a good education.
Roma activist Jenő Setét blasted the Orbán government for its repeated attacks on Hungary’s Roma minority. Most recently, Prime Minister Orbán made statements saying he would not wish upon the rest of Europe that Hungary’s gypsies migrate to their countries.
The Hungarian government is actively pursuing a policy of exclusion towards Hungary’s Roma community and is denying them their fundamental human rights, Setét said.
“What the refugees and gypsies have in common is that the government ostracizes both groups,” he said. “I am consequential in my beliefs and wouldn’t want Orbán spread across the rest of Europe.
“Whether or not Hungary’s Roma community stays in Hungary is not something that depends on the mercy of Viktor Orbán.”
Juhász brings the house down
Együtt vice-president Péter Juhász demanded that Orbán be ashamed of himself for creating a climate of fear in Hungary. Juhász lambasted Orbán over the government’s failures in education, health care and Hungary’s high rate of child poverty.
“It’s important that you all realize that Orbán doesn’t only treat the refugees inhumanely, he treats all of us the same!” said Juhász.
He compared Orbán to a violent soccer hooligan and said the Prime Minister will end up having Hungary kicked out of the EU.
“I’m not afraid to say it: F*ck you KDNP [co-ruling Christian Democrats] along with your [mandatory] ethics classes, and Zsolt Semjén [Deputy Prime Minister and KDNP leader] too!” Juhász said.
His profanity referred to the lyrics of a song released over the internet shortly after Fidesz coalition partner KDNP rushed legislation through to close retail stores on Sunday.
Juhász called on the Hungarian government to participate in the European Commission’s proposal to distribute refugees among EU Member States in accordance with a quota system.
The Együtt politician praised volunteers for their valiant efforts to provide humanitarian aid to the asylum seekers passing through Hungary. He called on the opposition parties to stand united on divisive topics such as the refugee crisis even if the parties are incapable of uniting on other matters.