Protests in Budapest continue over government clampdown on NGOs and independent media

June 10, 2014

Photo: Zsófia Pályi - Origo
Photo: Zsófia Pályi – Origo

Protestors crossing Budapest’s famous Chain Bridge

Thousands assembled at Kossuth Square near Parliament on Monday in protest of last week’s sacking of Gergo Saling, editor in chief of popular internet based news site Origo.hu.  They were also there to demonstrate against government attempts to deprive Hungarian NGOs of foreign funding by ordering a government audit of the organizations responsible for administering three civil funds for EEA and Norway Grants.  Protesters also expressed their dissatisfaction with the ruling Fidesz party’s proposed tax on the advertising revenues of media outlets.

Around three thousand people turned out for the demonstration. Organized by Hungarian blog Kettos Merce (Double Standard), the demonstration was named “Who is this Janos Lazar?”, in reference to the Fidesz politician who, in addition to being a member of parliament, runs the Office of the Prime Minister, previously as state secretary but now in a ministerial capacity as Chancellor.

Assembling at 6pm at the corner of Alkomany (Constitution) and Kossuth Square, protesters chanted “free country, free press!” They then marched across the Chain Bridge and continued their protest in front of the offices of Magyar Telekom (a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom and owner of Origo Zrt., Saling’s former employer).

“We don’t need Orban, we don’t need Lazar, the nation of Hungary doesn’t need an emperor,” chanted the protesters, who were escorted by 14 police cars.

Referenced in this article:

Több ezren tüntettek a Kossuth téren Lázár János ellen, Origo.hu; 9 June 2014.

Lázár János, tűnj el! Tup-tup, tüff!, Index.hu; 9 June 2014.