“We have a failed democracy, a collapsing economy, an impoverished population and an ever-widening gap between Hungary’s wealthy elite and its poorer citizens. This must stop. Join our protest.”
We reproduce below with comment the official international press statement of the “Demonstration Against the Government of Corruption” scheduled to take place in Budapest on Sunday, March 8. The event will begin in front of Budapest City Hall in Erzsébet Square at 4pm CET and proceed along Andrássy Boulevard to the finishing point outside the National Bureau of Investigation’s office on Aradi Street.
Hungary is becoming a failed state before our eyes. The rule of law is receding and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is actively turning Hungary into a rogue state that represents a danger both for the country’s citizens and for its European neighbours. At the core of this democratic slide is corruption – the personal enrichment of Orbán and his cronies, notably the former mayor of Budapest’s Fifth District Antál Rogan MP.
The protest has been organized by Peter Juhasz of the opposition alliance party Együtt (Together) in order to raise awareness of the ruling Fidesz party’s rampant corruption. Juhasz has uncovered a scheme, wherein the mayor assisted in the sell-off of ⅓ of the district’s properties to other FIDESZ cronies or straight to individuals with known ties to the criminal underworld. Juhasz has reported the organized criminal activity to the police, but the Prosecutor’s Office refuses to investigate – employing absurd arguments to avoid dealing with the obvious crimes.
Unabashed corruption has been the motor for the rampant sell-off of some 2,000 prime state-owned properties that took place under Rogán’s tenure as mayor. Rogán is protected from facing corruption charges by the Chief Prosecutor Péter Polt, an Orbán appointee who has blatantly turned a blind eye to scores of Fidesz-linked crimes. Orbán’s state takeover leaves no room for independent institutions.
This corruption has not gone unnoticed abroad. The US has imposed a travel ban on six state officials, including the head of the Hungarian tax authority NAV, for alleged attempts to extort bribes from American companies. With all that NSA surveillance gear the Americans probably have a pretty good idea.
We are protesting to raise awareness of the cost we are all paying for the enrichment of Orbán and his inner circle: we have a failed democracy, a collapsing economy, an impoverished population and an ever-widening gap between Hungary’s wealthy elite and its poorer citizens. This must stop. Join our protest.
Éva Dr. Ivanics, former tax inspector
Katalin Szabóné Szabados, Community of former Tobacco shop owners
Rebeka Szabó, PM party
Zsuzsanna Szelényi, Együtt party
Péter Juhász, Együtt party
Zoltán Kész, independent member of parliament (withdrawn)
Bertram Marek, civil activist
Zoltán Nagy, DK party
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