Hungary’s opposition parties on Saturday called for further protests, another change of regime and building a new republic, while trade unions announced nationwide demonstrations to be held on January 19 in protest against recent amendments to the labour code.
Laszlo Kordas, head of the TU confederation MSZOSZ, said during an anti-government demonstration in Budapest that they would present a list of demands to Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Tuesday and give five days to the government to set up a negotiating committee.
If the government fails to set up the committee by deadline, the unions will hold a nationwide warning strike, and protesters will block roads and bridges, he said.
The trade unions are prepared for “a militant period” because the government has “made a deal with capitalists” and “chose to side with heinous profit-hunters," he said.
Head of the teachers’ trade union PDSZ Tamas Szucs called for action and said there was no reason to fear from strikes because they were the only way to succeed and force those in power to back off.
Socialist leader Bertalan Toth said that unity has been created between opposition forces both in parliament and in the streets. He called on the opposition parties to cooperate in both the European and local elections later this year. He said the opposition parties should field joint candidates for the municipal elections everywhere.
Conservative opposition Jobbik spokesman Peter Jakab said a petition would be launched against the "slave law."
Opposition DK deputy leader Csaba Molnar said even if Prime Minister Viktor Orban backs off and withdraws the labour code amendments, they would not stop because they are “rebelling” against the entire regime not just specific laws.
Opposition LMP lawmaker Antal Csardi said four million employees were affected by the “slave law," so the main task was to get it withdrawn and the labour code to be revised. He called the trade unions and other opposition parties for consultations on January 9.
Opposition Parbeszed co-leader Gergely Karacsony said the government was unable to apply the dictatorial tactics of “divide and rule” against the protesters.
Independent lawmaker Bernadett Szel said “the world must not belong to the populists and Hungary must not belong to Orban.”
Liberals executive and independent lawmaker Anett Bosz said that Hungary’s rule of law and democracy would have to be restored.
Momentum deputy leader Anna Donath said Hungarians were not slaves.
The protest started from Heroes’ Square and new demonstrators joined the crowd as it was moving through the city. When the beginning of the crowd arrived in Kossuth Square near parliament, the end was at the corner of Andrassy Square and Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Road around 1.5 km away.
The conservative opposition Jobbik party will submit an appeal to the Kuria, Hungary’s supreme court, against a decision by the National Election Committee, which rejected its referendum initiatives linked to “despotic measures dubbed Fidesz’s slave law,” lawmaker Tamas Pinter said on Saturday.
He said it was “a totally ridiculous response” that the committee threw out the initiatives claiming that they were ambiguous. “What can be ambiguous about asking people if they want to live in Hungary as slaves and what can be ambiguous about asking them if they want to spend their free time at home, with their families, rather than at their place of work,” Pinter told a press conference.
You can read this story as it originally appeared at Hungary Journal here.
(PHOTO: Laszlo Balogh/Getty Images)