BUDAPEST: Thousands marched in the Hungarian capital on Saturday, the latest in a series of protests that started before Christmas, against a new ‘slave law’.
Hungary’s opposition has staged several rallies in the past weeks in Budapest and other cities against the rule of conservative nationalist Viktor Orban which they say is authoritarian.
Like previous protests, Saturday’s march was organized by opposition parties, trade unions and civic groups and mainly denounced the new labor law.
The change to the labour law, which was passed by parliament in December, has faced intense criticism and sparked the biggest street protest in over a year.
The law is dubbed ‘slave law’ because it could allows employers to ask staff to work two extra hours to an average work day, or the equivalent of an extra workday per week. That’s up to 400 hours of overtime per year.
The past weeks’ anti-government rallies were also against a law that sets up new courts which critics say could be politically manipulated, and against bias in state-controlled media.
The earlier protests have been mostly peaceful, though there were some clashes with police who used tear gas.
In a statement on Thursday, the ruling Fidesz party reiterated that the protests were part of a “campaign” for the European Parliament elections in May to help those who support mass migration into the EU.
The Fidesz party won Hungarian elections with a landslide last year. Resisting mass immigration into the EU was a major pledge of its programme.__EuroNews