Tue, Dec 18, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Hungarians protest rules, lawmakers ejected by security

Reuters and AFP, BUDAPEST

Momentum Party vice-chairperson Anna Donath holds a smoke canister at a protest in Budpaest on Sunday.

Photo: EPA-EFE

Security guards yesterday ejected two independent lawmakers from Hungary’s state television building after they tried to read out a petition, a day after police used tear gas against pro-democracy protesters in Budapest.

The two lawmakers were among about a dozen members of parliament who spent the night in the building, a continuation of their demonstration against the policies of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The petition reiterated the demands of Sunday’s protesters, which included a call for the withdrawal of a new labor law, for independent public media and courts, and for the nation to join the EU’s prosecutors’ office.

Independent Member of Parliament Bernadett Szel posted video footage on Facebook that showed the security guards tussling with Member of Parliament Akos Hadhazy and throwing him out of the building.

Szel said she had also been ejected.

“We wanted to have our petition read out,” she said in the video.

Other lawmakers were continuing their protest at the building.

On Sunday, protesters threw smoke canisters at police, who responded with tear gas, as thousands of people rallied against what they described as a “slave law.”

Local press reports said that more than 15,000 people joined the demonstration — the first rally since Orban returned to power in 2010 to bring together all opposition parties under the same banner.

The protest was called by unions and opposition parties outraged at reforms that hike the annual overtime hours that employers can demand from 250 to 400 hours, and allows payment to be delayed by up to three years.

The government says the changes — adopted on Wednesday last week — are needed by employers short of personnel and will benefit those wanting to work extra hours.

The protest reached Parliament Square, where people chanted: “Orban get lost.”

“They don’t negotiate with anyone. They just do whatever they want. They steal everything. It’s intolerable. It cannot go on,” said one protester, Zoli, a transport worker.

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