Hungarians protest against the government in front of Parliament every night
Hungarians protested against the so-called ’slave law’ in front of the Parliament and across Budapest this week. Thousands went to the streets of Budapest on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night after the Parliament passed a bill that allows employers to request 400 hours of overtime work from employees annually. Despite the cold weather, protesters were out in the streets until after midnight every night; police responded by using tear gas. Another protest is planned for Sunday afternoon in the heart of Hungary’s capital, on Hero’s Square.
The Hungarian Parliament passed two important bills on Wednesday. Even though opposition parties were protesting inside the Parliament building all day, the body dominated by governing party Fidesz passed the so-called ’slave law’ and the law creating a new court system.
The newly created administrative courts will be entirely separate from the current court system. They will be overseen by the minister of justice and rules will make it easier to fill the new court with judges loyal to Fidesz. The administrative courts will be able to rule in politically sensitive cases such as corruption and electoral law and freedom of assembly.
The so-called ’slave law’ will raise the 250-hour annual cap on overtime work to 400 hours. Moreover, employers will be able to take up to three years to pay compensation for the overtime work.
According to the law, employees need to agree to the overtime in writing, but protesters claim pressure from employers will leave workers with no choice but to accept the new terms.
Our photos from the first night of the protests:
Protests started early evening every day in front of the Parliament, then thousands of protesters started walking around Budapest streets, loudly chanting anti-government slogans and briefly blocking roads and bridges. Some of the protesters every night returned to the Parliament building where they chanted slogans facing riot police.
Despite the cold weather and the Friday night snow, protesters were out in the streets until 1 or 2 a.m. every morning.
Our photos of the second night of the protests:
Unlike during protests in previous years, police used tear gas often during the three nights of demonstrations, angering protesters. Demonstrators used smoke-screen bombs, burned small handkerchiefs and newspapers and one window of the Parliament was broken by a stone thrown by a protester.
Another protest is planned for Sunday afternoon, at 3 p.m. at Hero’s Square. Student organizations, opposition parties, and trade unions announced that they are joining the protests.
Our photos from Friday, the third night of protests:
Written by Anita Kőműves
Photos by Márk Tremmel and Áron Halász