thousands of demonstrators on the street against a reform of labor law

On Friday, December 21, the Hungarians protest against the reform of labor law by the Orban government in Budapest.
On Friday, December 21, the Hungarians protest against the reform of labor law by the Orban government in Budapest. MARKO DJURICA / REUTERS

Several thousand protesters marched on Friday (December 21) in Budapest after the promulgation of the Hungarian law on working time, a very controversial reform that triggered a wave of demonstrations from its vote in Parliament.

Friday's protest should be the last before the holidays, but the opposition hopes to keep the mobilization after 1st January 2019. This protest was triggered on December 12 by the vote in Parliament of this law that brings to 400 the number of overtime per year that employers can apply to their employees, payable three years later.

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On Friday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban defended the reform against protesters "Hysterics". "Those who cry at the end of the world are those who have ruined the country and their lies have no limits"commented on the public radio the head of state on protesters.

"We will boycott oligarchs by peaceful means"

The protest movement, which began informally, was characterized by unprecedented clashes with the police in front of the Parliament building. Since then it has been supported by the unions and the opposition, all their members (left, liberal and extreme right) have joined their voices for the first time.

The demands on the labor law were promoted with the denunciation of the Fidesz party control by Mr. Orban (in office since 2010) on media, economics and justice. A dozen opposition MPs had occupied the siege of public television accused of prejudice on Sunday night through Monday.

Before Friday's protest, the president of the left opposition party MSZP, Bertalan Toth, warned the ruling power:

"We will expand protests and protests [en visant] where it hurts, it is a regime built on greed and will boycott the oligarchs by peaceful means (…). We will aim for those that the Fidesz regime serves with its laws. "

According to a survey published Friday by the Publicus Institute, more than two thirds of Hungarians believe that the proofs are justified. The demonstrations, however, peaked at just 15,000 people during a demonstration in Budapest on Sunday, away from the 60,000 who gathered in April 2017 to denounce measures against NGOs and "Soros University" or the challenge of a tax project on the Internet in 2014.

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