Tens of thousands protest internet tax across Hungary

October 28, 2014

Demonstration
Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Budapest Tuesday night for the second time in three days to protest a bill to tax internet usage.

Debrecen

Simultaneous demonstrations took place in ten major provincial cities, including Fidesz strongheld Debrecen pictured here.

In London, hundreds of Hungarian expatriots reportedly assembled in Trafalgar Square to protest the proposed tax.

As in the case of Sunday’s demonstration in Budapest, protesters first assembled in József nádor Square in front of the Ministry for National Economy.  This time instead of marching east up Andrássy boulevard to Heroes Square, they marched south along the Danube, then west across the Elizabeth (Erzsébet) Bridge to Clark Adam square.  By the time the crowd reached the “O” mile marker at the base of the Buda Castle District, its numbers had swollen to an estimated 100,000.  According to protest organizer Balázs Gulyás, the marker symbolized the amount it should cost to access the internet.

Erzsebethid

 

Although the demonstration officially ended at 8:30 pm with the singing of the Hungarian national anthem, it took well over an hour for the protesters to disperse.

Demonstration organizer Károly Füzessy told ATV he was satisfied with the demonstration and invited Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to a public debate, pointing out that in 2008 while in opposition Fidesz opposed taxing the internet.

The protests were broadcast in Paris by the occupy movement, and covered by Reuters and other major media outlets.

After the official demonstration ended, an estimated 3000 protesters crossed over the Chain Bridge in the direction of Parliament.  Arriving in Kossuth square shortly before 9:30 pm, the crowd started chanting “Dirty Fidesz”, “You screwed up!”, “Orbán scram!”, “No net tax” and “Russians go home”.   A number of protesters held aloft an improvised banner saying “Orbán, don’t plunder the Hungarians”.

Kossuth

Apparently mindful of what protesters did to governing Fidesz party headquarters after Sunday’s protest, a police cordon kept the demonstrators well out of throwing distance of Parliament.

At 10:12, cheered on by the crowd, MSZP politician Ágnes Kunhalmi hung two EU flags and a Hungarian flag from the windows of Parliament.

Shortly after 11 pm Reuters reported that over 100,000 had participated in the Budapest demonstration.

Referenced in this article:

http://www.atv.hu/belfold/20141028-tuntetes-a-belvarosban-percrol-percre