Some 100,000 Hungarians protested in Budapest on April 14 against an unfair election system that gave Prime Minister Viktor Orban a landslide victory at the polls after a “hate campaign” against immigrants, claim the organisers.
“Viktor Orban has forgotten where he came from,” Ors Lanyi, one of the organisers, told the crowd, which booed whenever it heard the prime minister’s name.
Protesters marched from the Opera House, a 19th century Neo-Renaissance palace on a majestic downtown avenue, to parliament along the Danube River, waving Hungary’s tricolour flag and the European Union flag, accompanied by whistles and horns blaring. As demonstrators filled a large square outside the parliament, many were still walking on main roads leading there, chanting: “We are the majority,” reports Reuters.
Orban won a third straight term in power in recent elections after his anti-immigration campaign message secured a strong majority for his ruling Fidesz party in parliament, giving him two-thirds of seats based on preliminary results.
Opposition leaders are calling for a recount of ballots, free media and a new election law, as well as more efficient cooperation among opposition parties.
The protest was among the biggest in Hungary in recent years, similar in size to a mass rally prompted by Orban’s plan to tax internet use four years ago and a pro-government demonstration called by Orban supporters shortly before the election.
The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe has said the election did not offer opposition parties a level playing field amid a host of problems marring a vote that nonetheless generally respected fundamental rights.
In their Facebook post, the rally’s organisers said: “Fidesz’s election system and the government’s hate campaign have pushed the majority into a one-third (parliamentary) minority.”