Thousands attend Hungary 'public outrage day' protest

  • 17 November 2014
  • From the section Europe
People protest in front of the Hungarian parliament in Budapest, Hungary on 17 November 2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Protesters demanded the resignation of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban

Ten thousand Hungarians have taken to the streets of Budapest to rally against the government in a protest dubbed "public outrage day".

Demonstrators chanted slogans against Prime Minister Viktor Orban, accusing him of employing corrupt officials and being too close to Russia.

Similar protests occurred in at least 20 other Hungarian cities as well as London, Berlin and Stockholm.

Last month thousands successfully rallied against a planned internet tax.

Opposition politicians were amongst the protesters, although party symbols were not on show following a request from the organisers, Reuters news agency reports.

Demonstrators called on Mr Orban to resign and demanded the ousting of six public officials, including the head of Hungary's tax authority, who have been accused of corruption.

In October, Washington banned Ildiko Vida and the five other officials from entering the US because of their alleged corruption links.

After announcing the ban, while US charge d'affaires Andre Goodfriend said that "negative trends [had] rapidly taken hold" in Hungary.

Despite this, the six officials deny any wrongdoing and Mr Orban has refused to ask for their resignation.

Close to Kremlin

Image copyright EPA
Image caption As the protest ended, thousands confronted riot police outside parliament

The demonstrators also accused the prime minister of moving away from the EU towards Russia, and demanded greater government accountability.

Many accuse Mr Orban, who leads the country's centre-right Fidesz Party, of becoming increasingly authoritarian.

Although the protest was peaceful, thousands remained after the demonstration was over.

The crowds dismantled metal barriers by the Hungarian parliament and faced police in riot gear whilst chanting "Orban, go away" and "We do not pay tax to criminals".

Monday's protest was the fourth demonstration within Hungary in the last 30 days.

On 9 November demonstrators marched against Ms Vida calling for her resignation.

But the largest protest came in October when the government suggested an internet tax.

After thousands rallied in protest, Mr Orban surprised many by changing his mind and withdrawing the plans four days later.

Despite the protests, Mr Orban commands broad popularity in Hungary and in April he was re-elected with Fidesz winning two-thirds of the seats in parliament.

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